The Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council (ECCPC) and the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (THEC) held their second joint meeting in Hong Kong today (August 10). The meeting was co-chaired by the ECCPC Chairperson, Mr Charles Lee, and the THEC Chairman, Mr Lin Chen-kuo. The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, was the Guest Speaker at the beginning of the meeting in his capacity as the Honorary Chairperson of the ECCPC.
At the joint meeting today, both sides were encouraged by the progress achieved through the ECCPC and THEC platform in the past year, which included the following:
(1) To further promote long-term co-operation and exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan, Hong Kong will set up the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan within this year. At the same time, the Chung Hwa Travel Service in Hong Kong has changed its name to Taipei Economic and Cultural Office with effect from July 15 this year to reflect its existing functions;
(2) Hong Kong and Taiwan have largely reached consensus on updating the existing air services arrangements between the two places, and it is hoped that both sides could finalise the relevant arrangements in due course;
(3) The Hong Kong Tourism Board has completed its application procedures for establishing a formal office in Taipei and it is expected that the office could formally open in September this year;
(4) In view of the various food and drug safety issues in recent months, relevant authorities in Hong Kong and Taiwan have separately established emergency communication mechanisms on specific cases. The establishment of regular communication mechanisms on food and drug safety, as well as on emergency incidents concerning infectious diseases between the two places, is important to the health of the public, and both sides have agreed to proactively pursue the relevant consultation as soon as possible;
(5) Business delegations from both sides visited each other several times in the past year, and experts from both places have already commenced technical exchanges to launch discussions on how to further strengthen bilateral economic exchanges;
(6) The bilateral Cultural Co-operation Committees of the ECCPC and the THEC organised the first Cultural Co-operation Forum in Hong Kong in May this year, and reached consensus on an Action Agenda on Cultural Co-operation between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hong Kong has already earmarked resources to support cultural exchanges between the two places;
(7) Hong Kong and Taiwan have commenced discussions on the issues relating to the avoidance of double taxation in respect of shipping income. A liaison mechanism has been established. Both sides will continue to follow up on this issue proactively; and
(8) The two places have agreed to co-operate with each other, with effect from January 1 this year, in dealing with consignments detoured through Hong Kong under the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA), such that the relevant goods, when under the supervision of the Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong, will enjoy preferential tariff treatments under the ECFA.
Furthermore, financial regulatory authorities on both sides have achieved good progress in the negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding on banking regulatory co-operation, and have reached consensus in principle. It is expected that both sides could finalise the signing arrangement shortly. This would help further strengthen the close co-operation relationship already established between the financial regulatory authorities in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
To further facilitate the entry of Taiwan visitors for business or leisure, the HKSAR Government will further relax the relevant arrangement. Starting from September 1, 2011, Taiwan visitors holding a valid Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents may visit Hong Kong for 30 days, extended from seven days, regardless of whether they possess an entry/exit endorsement for the Mainland. In addition, based on the principle of reciprocity, the HKSAR Government is also working on the detailed implementation arrangements to allow Taiwan visitors to make prior entry registration on their own through the Internet free of charge. The Immigration Department will announce the details in due course. The facilitation arrangement will contribute to Hong Kong-Taiwan exchanges.
Under the principle of mutual benefit and collaboration, both sides at the joint meeting today proactively discussed and studied various practical issues that are of concern to both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Both sides expressed their wish to enhance mutual understanding through the ECCPC and THEC platform, as well as participate in and push ahead promotional and co-operation efforts in relevant areas. In addition, both sides have agreed to support the two places in pushing ahead proactively and pragmatically new co-operation initiatives, which include the following:
(1) Building on the established co-operation among academic institutions in the two places, both sides should deepen their understanding on each other's education system with a view to strengthening education co-operation and exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan;
(2) Both sides support the proposal for Hong Kong and Taiwan to strengthen co-operation in insurance supervision and regulation, and to encourage relevant authorities to establish a more effective communication channel and liaison mechanism in respect of insurance supervision and regulation;
(3) Both sides agreed that Hong Kong and Taiwan should discuss issues relating to the mutual recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards and notary services as soon as possible. This would help improve the business environment in Hong Kong and Taiwan by providing more facilitation to business and trade exchanges between the two places;
(4) Both sides agreed to promote co-operation in trade facilitation (customs facilitation for goods and electronic certificates of origin), and will start with technical exchanges on experiences relating to the use of radio-frequency identification technology;
(5) Both sides agreed to proactively consider proposals to strengthen exchanges and co-operation between law enforcement officers in Hong Kong and Taiwan with a view to combating cross-boundary criminal activities; and
(6) Both sides should deepen exchanges and co-operation on creative industries.
The joint meeting has witnessed the successful establishment of the ECCPC and THEC platform and the formalisation of liaison and consultation mechanisms between Hong Kong and Taiwan, building a solid foundation for future co-operation between the two places. Both sides agreed to continue to jointly pursue the various priority co-operation areas and to convene the third joint meeting in Taiwan next year.
Ends/Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Second joint meeting between ECCPC and THEC (1)
The Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council (ECCPC) and the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (THEC) held their second joint meeting today (August 10). The photo shows (from left) the THEC Chairman, Mr Lin Chen Kuo; the Honorary Chairperson of the ECCPC, Mr John C Tsang; and the ECCPC Chairperson, Mr Charles Lee, at the joint meeting.
Second joint meeting between ECCPC and THEC (2)
Mr Lin (left) and Mr Tsang shake hands at the joint meeting.
Press conference of second joint meeting between ECCPC and THEC
The second joint meeting of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council (ECCPC) and the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (THEC) was held today (August 10) and followed by a joint press conference. The photo shows (from left) the THEC Secretary-General, Mr James Chu; the THEC Deputy Chairman, Mr Kao Charng; the THEC Chairman, Mr Lin Chen-kuo; the ECCPC Chairperson, Mr Charles Lee; the ECCPC Executive Vice-Chairperson, Mr Stephen Lam; and the ECCPC Secretary-General, Mr Howard Chan, at the press conference.