IT was, of course, no coincidence that it was Secretary for Economic Services, Gordon Siu Kwing-chue, whom Lu Ping chose to invite as the first senior Hong Kong official to brief the Predatory Working Committee (PWC) up in Beijing and give the takeover committee the Governor's seal of approval. After the Director of China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office announced Mr Siu had cancelled a planned trip to sign an accord on training China's civil aviation staff because of the PWC's invitation, the embarrassed Mr Airport denied there was anything to cancel. He had not said definitely he would go to sign the agreement, and a letter to the head of China's civil aviation authority had mentioned neither the exact date of the signing nor who would wield the pen. True enough. But, needless to say, Mr Siu had been in more informal contact. Not wanting to turn up entirely unannounced, he had run the idea past Mr Lu's HKMAO Head of Department for economic affairs Chen Zuo'er. He in turn had run it past his boss and . . . hey presto, egg on face! SOME PWC members sincerely believe contacts between the cooks of the first and second stoves really would improve Chinese recipes. Economic sub-group luminary Vincent Lo Hong-sui last year proposed asking Hong Kong government officials to join the PWC andis now pursuing the same end by other means. At a meeting last October between members of his Business and Professionals Federation and the mainland National Association for Hong Kong and Macau Economic Studies, both sides agreed to set up working groups on Infrastructure and Finance. So far so good. The BPF's infrastructure committee, under Sir David Akers-Jones, will start work later this month. Finance group chairman Sir Quo Wei Lee will be putting the finishing touches to his committee soon. But plans to provide an informal channel for contact between Hong Kong civil servants and the mainland committees have met with a frosty response. The Hong Kong government views the BPF committees as ''a stalking horse for the PWC.'' The cooks are still not talking. MEMBERS of the Legco Finance, Taxation and Monetary Affairs Panel hunkered down on Wednesday for a fraught session on the banks' controversial interest rate cartel. At the start of proceedings Chairman Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen declared his interests as ''an employee of the banking community''. And Bank of East Asia Director and Chief Executive David Li Kwok-po also joined in the declaration. But, apparently half in jest, he also described himself as ''an employee of the banking community''. Uproar ensued. Peter Wong Hong-yuen shouted ''liar'' and others donned various expressions of pain or bemusement at such unparliamentary language. Maybe Mr Li, also a Hong Kong Affairs Adviser, has noted that the future sovereign of Hong Kong has an ideological problem with bosses. THE Governor may have cancelled his trip to the Swiss resort of Davos to attend the annual World Economic Forum, but there will be plenty of other Hong Kong delegates. Among those invited as ''Global Leaders for Tomorrow'' are Richard Li Tsar-kai, late of STAR TV, Exco member Rosanna Wong Yick-ming, local Citibank boss Anthony Leung and Legco appointees Christine Loh Kung-wai and Eric Li Ka-cheung, who has rushed into print with a new curriculum vitae incorporating the title. The main qualification for the title seems to be birth in the second half of the century, although Establishment connections clearly help. Businessmen have to pay up to SFr 14,800 (HK$ 78,000) to ski, apres-ski, apres-apres-ski and, of course, take part in brainstorming sessions such as ''Business Opportunities in Hong Kong''. Attending free are Government officials. Hong Kong is sending Secretary for Trade and Industry Brian Chau Tak-hay and global leader for yesterday Sir David Ford. A HINT reached us recently of strong passions in the dark back-rooms of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. We heard Chamber Chief Economist Ian Perkin had walked off the set of an Asia Business News (ABN) interview when he heard he was to appear with Bankers Trust Executive Director, William Overholt. Mr Overholt's uncritical new book The Rise of China - the Next Economic Superpower and not very politically correct views on China's democracy have lost him a few admirers recently. Tracked down in his lair back at the General Chamber of Commerce, Mr Perkin denied his studio walk-out had anything to do with Mr Overholt personally. It was all a misunderstanding. He had expected to be interviewed on his own, and did not want to say anything in the heat of debate which he might regret. We understood. A discussion on China's new exchange rate policy could really have been explosive. Similar contributions from the corridors of power are welcomed and treated in confidence. Tel 565 2227, fax 516 7489.