73. Introduced only a year ago, CEPA
has helped foster economic growth in Hong Kong. Over
660 Hong Kong-registered enterprises have been issued
with Certificates of Hong Kong Service Supplier. Under
CEPA, these enterprises are able to enter the Mainland
market much earlier and enjoy preferential treatment.
Some enterprises in sectors such as banking, distribution,
transport and logistics have already set up business
in the Mainland. And professional services are beginning
to develop market opportunities. Implementation of the
Individual Visit Scheme quickly boosted the retail sector
and the overall consumer market. Since last August,
the application procedures for state-owned and private
enterprises in the Mainland to set up business in Hong
Kong have been greatly streamlined. This has speeded
up the pace of Mainland enterprises investing in Hong
Kong and fostered growth for both places. By the end
of 2004, products with a total value of $1.145 billion
had been manufactured in Hong Kong and imported into
the Mainland tariff free.
74. We understand that, with the implementation of CEPA
in Mainland provinces and cities, some areas require
specific supporting measures. Some of our services sectors
still face relatively high thresholds. We will continue
to follow up these issues with the Central Authorities.
75. We have started to consult the industries concerned
on the contents of CEPA III, to be implemented next
year, and will begin discussions with the Central Authorities.
76. The implementation of CEPA has brought immediate
benefits to our economy. This is plain for all to see.
The experience of other regions in formulating free
trade arrangements shows that it takes time for the
newly generated economic activities to produce visible
results. Therefore, we expect the economic benefits
of CEPA to become even more evident over time.