Forum aims for a code to attract more funds

THE Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum is working on a code to enhance investments in the region, according to the Trade Department.

''The code will try to enhance investment, transparency, Most Favoured Nation [trading] status, national treatment, expatriation and compensation,'' said Trade Department assistant director-general John Tsang.

He said that not all of these principles applied equally in every country.

''For example, the definition of transparency in one country may have a different definition in another country,'' he said, adding that transparency was a big problem for APEC members.

Investment laws are another area where definition differs from one country to another.

''What one country requires from an investor differs from country to country,'' Mr Tsang said.

''In Hong Kong, we've written nothing down because we don't require anything.'' He said the idea for such a code was first mooted by Australia's Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Mr Tsang also said the code would be set up on a non-binding principle.

''When a principle is established on a non-binding basis, people are less likely to feel threatened,'' he said.