Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has been spared the prospect of spending a chilly Christmas Day in Beijing and will begin his annual duty visit to the capital on Boxing Day, a source close to Beijing said yesterday. It was earlier believed the visit had been tentatively set for December 24-26, two weeks after the Election Committee poll in which the pan-democratic camp secured enough seats to field a candidate against Mr Tsang next March. Apart from political issues - including the ballot, his core cabinet lineup for his expected next term and the 2012 election - the source said trade issues would figure high on the agenda. One issue will be 'how Hong Kong can be taken into consideration when China sharpens its strategy plan under the Asean agreement', the source said. China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed in 2002 to form a free-trade area that will create a market of 1.8 billion consumers and economic activity of more than US$2 trillion by 2011. The source said Mr Tsang would stay in Beijing for about four days and meet officials from 11 ministries. The chief executive usually takes two days for his duty visit. A spokesman for the Chief Executive's Office said the dates for the duty visit would be announced in due course. Mr Tsang will brief President Hu Jintao on the outcome of the Election Committee sub-sector polls on December 10, which has raised the prospect of the first contest for chief executive in 10 years. Alan Leong Kah-kit of the Civic Party is expected to secure the required 100 nominations to launch his bid after the pan-democrats secured 114 seats. The 800-member committee will elect the chief executive on March 25. Although Mr Tsang has yet to announce his re-election bid, a government source said David Li Kwok-po, chairman of the Bank of East Asia and an executive councillor and legislator, will again be the chief executive's campaign manager. A former senior official, Adolf Hsu Hung, would help as co-ordinator of the campaign.