THE economic sub-group of the panel preparing for 1997 yesterday made an appeal for construction of the Chek Lap Kok airport before the handover. Concluding a two-day meeting in Beijing, mainland co-convenor Gao Shangquan said members of the Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) sub-group all hoped to see airport construction progress quickly to boost cost-effectiveness. The sub-group had spent its Wednesday meeting discussing the Airport Corporation Bill, and a briefing on the airport's financial arrangements was given by a department head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Chen Zhao'er. Mr Gao did not say whether there were new developments in the Sino-British talks on the airport, which have been bogged down in a disagreement on the amount of capital injection by the Government. According to Mr Gao, the sub-group also discussed cross-border traffic between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Hong Kong member Lee Chark-tim said there was a need to address traffic congestion at the border checkpoint, which was costing Hong Kong great economic losses. Mr Lee urged the Chinese authorities to review the organisation of the departments responsible for the management of the border. ''At present, the existence of various departments is creating many obstacles. There is the port office, the border office and another one responsible for the transport of animals and plants in and out of the country. If the system is not improved, we will continue losing money.'' Mr Lee said this was a complicated subject and must be dealt with by the central Government. The vice-chairman of the PWC, former Hong Kong judge Simon Li Fook-sean, was taken to hospital last night shortly after arriving in Beijing. Mr Li, 72, returned to his hotel after treatment. A PWC spokesman said Mr Li was fit enough to attend his scheduled meetings this week. He did not disclose the nature of the problem.