HK busi­nesses reap re­wards from new trade ar­range­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHOU MO in Shen­zhen [email protected]­nadai­

About 24 bil­lion yuan ($3.5 bil­lion) worth of Hong Kong goods im­ported through Shen­zhen Cus­toms have been ex­empted from tar­iffs since the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Closer Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Ar­range­ment in 2004, sav­ing 2.56 bil­lion yuan in tar­iffs for busi­nesses, the cus­toms said on Tuesday.

The value of Hong Kong goods ben­e­fit­ing from CEPA in­creased nearly nine times over the past 15 years, from 260 mil­lion yuan in 2004 to 2.26 bil­lion yuan in 2018, it said.

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Eleven cat­e­gories of prod­ucts en­joyed zero tar­iffs in 2018, the cus­toms said. Food was the big­gest ben­e­fi­ciary, with more than half of the to­tal value com­ing from the cat­e­gory. That was fol­lowed by chem­i­cals, plas­tics and plas­tic prod­ucts, ac­count­ing for about 30 per­cent and 13 per­cent, re­spec­tively.

“A wide range of Hong Kong busi­nesses have ben­e­fited from CEPA, from the city’s tra­di­tional phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try to those less ad­vanced in­dus­tries such as me­chan­i­cal and elec­tron­ics in­dus­try,” Lin Guozhong, deputy head of Shen­zhen Cus­toms, said.

“We have been mak­ing great ef­forts to pro­vide a pleas­ant trade en­vi­ron­ment and of­fer high-qual­ity ser­vices un­der the CEPA frame­work.”

Last month, an up­dated ver­sion of the CEPA was launched with the aim of fur­ther boost­ing trade be­tween the main­land and Hong Kong.

The Agree­ment on Trade in Goods un­der the CEPA frame­work al­lows a more com­pre­hen­sive list of Hong Kong prod­ucts to ben­e­fit from tar­iffs ex­emp­tion.

“Hong Kong-pro­duced prod­ucts with raw ma­te­ri­als im­ported from the main­land can now en­joy zero tar­iff. In the past, only a few prod­ucts had the treat­ment,” Zheng Dongyang, deputy di­rec­tor of tar­iffs di­vi­sion at the cus­toms, said.

“This will fur­ther pro­mote in­te­gra­tion be­tween the main­land and Hong Kong man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try.”

Trade be­tween the main­land and Hong Kong has seen sig­nif­i­cant growth un­der the frame­work of CEPA, which aims to strengthen eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two sides.

Ac­cord­ing to govern­ment sta­tis­tics, trade in goods be­tween the Chi­nese main­land and Hong Kong amounted to ap­prox­i­mately $141.4 bil­lion in the first half of 2018, grow­ing 11.9 per­cent year-on-year.

Busi­nesses hailed the co­op­er­a­tion, say­ing it helped cut costs and boost com­pet­i­tive­ness.

Liu Yib­ing, as­sis­tant pres­i­dent of Shen­zhen King­world Medicines Co Ltd, which is the main­land agent of sev­eral kinds of Hong Kong-pro­duced medicines, said with an im­port value of about HK$522 mil­lion last year, the com­pany was able to save 13.2 mil­lion yuan in tar­iff thanks to CEPA.

“That has greatly re­duced our cost and made our prod­ucts more com­pet­i­tive on the mar­ket. As a re­sult, our mar­ket share has been grow­ing steadily over re­cent years,” he said, with­out giv­ing spe­cific fig­ures.

Liu was echoed by Lin Guang­gang, di­rec­tor and deputy gen­eral man­ager of Shen­zhen Tiancheng Food Co Ltd — the main­land agent of Hong Kong moon­cake brands Maxim and Wing Wah.

“Last year, we im­ported HK$500 mil­lion worth of moon­cakes and saved 43.9 mil­lion yuan in tar­iff,” Lin said.

“The cost re­duc­tion helps us to stay com­pet­i­tive and achieve good sales per­for­mance.”

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