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Restoring WTO dispute system urged

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau called on World Trade Organization (WTO) members to support the restoration of a fully functioning dispute settlement system during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, yesterday.   At a meeting on dispute settlement reform, Mr Yau said the dispute settlement system has functioned as a cornerstone of global trade, creating stability and predictability. He added that to have a well-functioning system restored this year, as was mandated at MC12, would serve the interests of all WTO members and of the global business community.   He stressed that Hong Kong, China has been involved in every stage of the reform process in relation to dispute settlement and will continue its active participation.   Speaking at another meeting, on development, Mr Yau said that the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement is a very much a pro-development agreement.   He highligh

Policy Address measures highlighted

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau today briefed members of the Trade & Industry Advisory Board on initiatives related to commerce and trade in the 2021 Policy Address.   Mr Yau said the Policy Address focuses on integration into national development and states that the developments of Hong Kong and the nation are closely related.   While the nation is the major growth engine and driving force for the global economy, the 14th Five-Year Plan, the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Qianhai plan, the economic development pattern of not only greater domestic circulation but also domestic and international dual circulation, as well as the Belt & Road Initiative have brought unlimited opportunities for enterprises and professional services providers in Hong Kong.   The city must seize these opportunities and leverage its advantages, Mr Yau noted.   During the meeting, the commerce chief stressed that Hong Kong would continue to be a staunch supporter of free trade and strive to explore more trade opportunities for businesses.   It aims to achieve the goal by participating actively in the affairs of the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, seeking early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, setting up more overseas economic and trade offices and seeking more liberalisation measures for Hong Kong enterprises under the framework of the Mainland & Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.   He added that Hong Kong would also work with Mainland organisations to attract foreign investment, promote multilateral co-operation along the Belt & Road and open overseas markets under the national strategy of dual circulation.   Mr Yau also highlighted the support measures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Policy Address.   The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation will launch the Export Credit Guarantee Scheme on a pilot basis early next year and offer a more flexible indemnity ratio to enhance insurance coverage and expedite credit limit approvals, so that SMEs will be in a better position to secure orders and market share.   Moreover, an additional $35 billion of financial commitment for the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme has been approved to extend the application period of the Special 100% Guarantee Product from the end of this year to June 30 next year.   This will help enterprises affected by the epidemic to obtain commercial financing and resolve the liquidity problem, Mr Yau said.   On the convention and exhibition industry, the Government has extended the validity period of the Convention & Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme for six months to the end of 2022 and will expand relevant facilities in the long run.   Funds have also been allocated under the scheme to provide a one-off immediate relief to eligible private exhibition organisers, he added.
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