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Meeting between ECCPC and THEC held in Taipei

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council:

     The Honorary Chairperson of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council (ECCPC), Mr John C Tsang, led a delegation of directors to Taipei to officiate at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office (HKETCO) today (May 15).

     While in Taiwan, the delegation had a meeting with the Chairman of the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (THEC), Mr Lin Chen-kuo, and a few THEC directors, to review the outcomes achieved by the two Councils since their establishment, and to exchange ideas on the way forward for developing further co-operation between the two sides.

     Both sides were most encouraged by the fruitful outcomes achieved by the Council on various aspects, including:

* On mutual establishment of offices, the HKETCO commenced operation in Taiwan on December 19, 2011, and in the spirit of reciprocity the Chung Hwa Travel Service changed its name to Taipei Economic and Cultural Office with effect from July 15, 2011, to reflect its existing functions.

* On the economic and financial front, both sides signed a memorandum of understanding for banking supervisory co-operation and an air services arrangement in August and December 2011 respectively. The two places also agreed on the preferential tariff treatments for consignments routed through Hong Kong under the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with effect from January 1, 2011.

* On the art and culture front and creative industries, the bilateral Cultural Co-operation Committees of the ECCPC and the THEC organised the first Hong Kong-Taiwan Cultural Co-operation Forum in May 2011, and reached consensus on a 10-point action agenda on cultural co-operation. Thereafter, the ECCPC Chairperson led a delegation to visit Taipei in October 2011 to attend the International Design Alliance Congress, whereas the THEC Chairman made a return visit to Hong Kong in November 2011 to attend the Business of Design Week organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre. In addition, a publication entitled "Art and Culture@Hong Kong" was made available free of charge to the Taiwan community to promote the art and culture of Hong Kong.

* On entry facilitation for tourists, the Taipei office of the Hong Kong Tourism Board officially opened in September 2011. Entry arrangements for Taiwan visitors were also relaxed. 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. New arrangements will be launched in due course to allow Taiwan visitors to make prior entry registration on their own through the Internet free of charge.

     Mr Tsang said at the meeting, "I am most pleased with the hard-earned achievements made by the ECCPC and the THEC so far. With the very good relations between Hong Kong and Taiwan at present, I think we should keep up the good momentum and actively take forward the various areas of co-operation in the spirit of mutual trust and benefit."

     Both sides agreed that the relevant authorities of the two places should continue to conduct exchanges, with a view to announcing more beneficial measures to the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan at the Third Joint Meeting to be held in the latter half of this year.

     The meeting is testimony to the successful establishment of the ECCPC/THEC communication platform that institutionalises the dialogue mechanism and lays a firm foundation for co-operation between Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Ends/Tuesday, May 15, 2012