The local brokerage industry is urging the government to do more to revive its fortunes after mainland counterparts were cleared to set up subsidiaries in Hong Kong under the Cepa free-trade arrangement. The pact, which does not give Hong Kong brokers the same rights to expand on the mainland, takes effect on January 1. The measure is the only concession to the mainland services sector in the third phase of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement. Cepa III was signed yesterday by Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Vice-Minister of Commerce Liao Xiaoqi. 'Going forward, the main thrust of our work will be in the realisation of the potential of Cepa as well as to enhance and facilitate the work between Hong Kong and the mainland,' Mr Tang said. The announcement disappointed Chim Pui-chung, legislator for the financial services sector. He said more needed doing to benefit Hong Kong's financial services industry. 'Of course the mainland brokers would take away business from local brokers, but when did the government ever try to protect their interests anyway? They have been trying to trim their numbers all along,' he said. 'They should let Hong Kong firms operate with the same kind of freedom on the mainland.' Joseph Tong Tang, executive director and group chief operating officer of local brokerage Sun Hung Kai Financial, also lamented the lack of support for the industry, even though the second phase of Cepa did allow licensed Hong Kong firms to own up to 49 per cent of joint-venture futures brokerages on the mainland. The Securities and Futures Commission said it would liaise with the China Securities Regulatory Commission to facilitate mainland brokerages doing business in Hong Kong. Cepa III contains 23 measures relaxing restrictions on market entry for Hong Kong companies to 10 services sectors and provides for zero tariffs on a further 261 categories of Hong Kong-made goods entering the mainland. With the advent of Cepa III, the pact will allow 1,369 types of goods qualified as being made in Hong Kong to enjoy zero tariffs when exported to the mainland. The local watch industry will be a major beneficiary of the pact's third phase. The financial secretary said the first two phases of Cepa had created more than 29,000 jobs locally since the beginning of last year, and the arrangement would be further developed to benefit Hong Kong.