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Cooperation with Mainland

Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA)

To promote joint economic prosperity and development of the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the two sides signed the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in 2003 to strengthen economic integration between the two places. Thereafter from 2004 to 2013, the two sides signed ten Supplements to expand market liberalization and further facilitate trade and investment thus enhancing economic cooperation. In December 2014, the Government of HKSAR and Ministry of Commerce signed the Agreement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Achieving Basic Liberalization of Trade in Services in Guangdong (the Agreement) under the CEPA framework. The Agreement provides for national treatment, most-favoured treatment, reserved restrictive and other measures in accordance with World Trade Organization rules and the prevailing international practices. Its breadth and depth of liberalization surpass the previous CEPA measures. The Agreement will be implemented starting from March 1, 2015 to achieve early basic liberalization of trade in services in Guangdong Province.
 

I. Liberalization measures regarding computer and related services in the Agreement for Hong Kong are as follows :
 

National treatment will be applied to the following trade services under the mode of “commercial presence”:

  – Consultancy services related to the installation of computer hardware (CPC841)
  – Software implementation services(CPC842)
  – Data processing services(CPC843)
  – Data base services(CPC844, except network operation services and value-added network services)
  – Other(CPC845+849)
 
II. Liberalization measures for telecommunications services which are related to IT:
  To allow Hong Kong service suppliers to set up joint ventures or wholly-owned enterprises in the Guangdong Province to provide the following services with no restriction on the proportion of Hong Kong service providers’ shareholding:
 

– store and forward services
– content services (application store)
 

III. Individually owned stores
 

To allow Hong Kong permanent residents with Chinese citizenship to set up individually owned stores in Guangdong Province, excluding franchising operation, without being subject to approval procedures applicable to foreign investments.  Scope of business includes software development, information system integration services, information technology consulting services, data processing and storage services (only limited to business of offline data processing services) and repair of computers and auxiliary equipment.
 

IV. Most-favoured treatment
 

In accordance with the provision for most-favoured treatment, any CEPA-plus liberalization measures included in the free trade agreements (FTA) signed by the Mainland with other countries and regions will also be applicable to Hong Kong.
 

V. Investment facilitation
 

The investment projects in the majority of services sub-sectors by a Hong Kong service supplier in Guangdong will be subject to the same authority and procedures as Mainland investment projects, and the establishment of a company and the related contract/articles of association will be subject to filing of record arrangement instead of prior approval.
 

Details of the Agreement can be found in the relevant web page of Trade and Industry Department
(http://www.tid.gov.hk/english/cepa/legaltext/cepa12.html)
 

Previous Liberalization Measures

The liberalization measures under CEPA and its Supplements signed between 2003 and 2013 will remain in force. Within Guangdong Province, in the event that provisions of CEPA and its Supplements conflict with those of the newly signed Agreement, the provisions of the newly signed Agreement shall prevail. The measures under CEPA and its Supplements relevant to the IT industry include:

      Trade in Services Liberalization Measures:

  1. To allow Hong Kong service suppliers to apply for qualification certification of computer information system integration
  2. To allow Hong Kong service suppliers to set up wholly-owned enterprises in the Mainland to provide software implementation services and data processing services
  3. To allow Hong Kong permanent residents with Chinese citizenship to set up individually owned stores in the Mainland to provide computer repair services, computer services and software services
  4. To allow Hong Kong residents to take qualification examinations for professionals and technicians, in particular for proficiency in computer technology and software
  5. To allow Hong Kong service suppliers to provide cross-boundary database services in Qianhai and Hengqin on a pilot basis
  6. To allow Hong Kong service suppliers to set up joint venture enterprises in the Mainland to provide database services
  7. To allow Hong Kong service suppliers to set up joint venture enterprises in Guangdong Province to provide online data processing and transaction processing services 
     

      Trade and Investment Facilitation Measures:

  1. To take forward the mutual recognition of electronic signature certificates issued by Guangdong and Hong Kong
  2. To promote commodity trade and information sharing between Guangdong and Hong Kong by opening up the commodity information platform

Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation in Informatisation

To strengthen the co-operation in information industry and informatisation between Hong Kong and Guangdong, the Eighth Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held on 28 September 2005 agreed to include informatisation as a key aspect of co-operation and establish an expert group to look after the matter.

The Hong Kong/Guangdong Expert Group on Co-operation in Informatisation (EGCI) was established in 2006. From 2006 to 2013, eight plenary meetings had been held in Guangzhou and Hong Kong respectively.  The ninth Plenary meeting has just been held on 11 July 2014 in Guangzhou.

To strengthen Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation in Informatisation, OGCIO and the Economic & Information Commission of Guangdong Province (former Department of Information Industry of Guangdong Province) had signed an "Arrangement on Strengthening Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation in Informatisation" after the Tenth Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held on 2 August 2007 in Hong Kong.

To further strengthen the Co-operation in Informatisation between Hong Kong and Guangdong, the Commerce & Economic Development Bureau and the Economic & Information Commission of Guangdong Province had signed a "Framework Agreement on ICT Co-operation" after the Sixteenth Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held on 16 September 2013 in Hong Kong.

The main co-operation areas of EGCI for 2014/15 include:

1. Promoting co-operation in construction of “Intelligent City Clusters” in the Greater Pearl River Delta
  (1) Co-ordinate the development of information infrastructure
  (2) Strengthen exchange on smart city applications
  (3) Facilitate co-operation on cloud computing applications
2. Promoting co-operation in Internet of Things applications relating to customs clearance facilitation between Guangdong and Hong Kong
  (1) Facilitate co-operation in logistics clearance technology applications between Guangdong and Hong Kong
  (2) Promote Internet of Things applications for expedited customs clearance
  (3) Take forward the mutual recognition of electronic signature certificates issued by Guangdong and Hong Kong
3. Promoting industry co-operation for information technology services between Guangdong and Hong Kong
  (1) Support participation in International IT Fest 2015 as well as Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) / (Autumn Edition)
  (2) Launch the third Guangdong-Hong Kong ICT Youth Entrepreneur Programme
  (3) Promote IT Professional Qualification Mutual Recognition between Guangdong and Hong Kong

 



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