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    Government's commitment to develop Trade Single Window lauded
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    The following is issued on behalf of the Business Facilitation Advisory Committee Secretariat:

         The Business Facilitation Advisory Committee held its 32nd meeting today (July 22). The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau and the Customs & Excise Department jointly briefed the committee on the public consultation of the development of a Trade Single Window in Hong Kong.

         The committee also reviewed the work of its three task forces. Some notable progress is as follows:

         (a) The Wholesale and Retail Task Force (WRTF) welcomes Hong Kong's accession to the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S), which can help sustain a competitive regulatory environment for the pharmaceutical industry in Hong Kong. Noting that the trade association has advised members to explore with overseas suppliers sharing out the costs of on-site inspections, which may be conducted by the Department of Health for medicines imported from non-PIC/S jurisdictions, the WRTF urges the Government to keep monitoring the situation, especially the business compliance cost implication to SMEs;

         (b) The WRTF appreciates the new regulatory regime for Store Value Facilities (SVFs) and Retail Payment Systems will have knock-on benefits to the retail industry. In response to the WRTF's concern about the IT security of SVFs, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has explained that licence applicants as well as licensees are required to take appropriate arrangements and measures to protect the SVF schemes against technology risks and payment security risks;

         (c) The Buildings Department and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) have jointly consulted the Food Business and Related Services Task Force (FRSTF) on the proposed business facilitation measures for submission of minor works (MW) documents to expedite the issue of provisional food business licences. The FRSTF welcomes the measures and requests the departments to implement as soon as possible the new arrangements, whereby pre-submission of MW completion certificates to the FEHD for checking will no longer be required;

         (d) The FEHD and the Fire Services Department have jointly briefed the FRSTF on key findings and observations of a post-implementation review conducted after the three new measures to ensure compliance with fire safety requirements by food premises were implemented for a full-year cycle. Noting that there were no significant hiccups or teething problems arising from implementation of the new measures, the FRSTF appreciates the implementation efforts of the departments, especially their pragmatic and robust approach to dealing with special licence renewal cases without compromising the fire safety of the premises concerned;

         (e) In response to the difficulty of cinema operators in hiring qualified competent persons for upkeep and safe operation of motion chairs, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) has advised that the department also considers relevant pre-qualification working experience of an applicant as a competent person and that a qualified competent person may be employed to work for more than one cinema subject to effective delivery of the required duties. The Task Force on Business Liaison Groups (BLGTF) welcomes the business facilitation approach of the EMSD; and

         (f) During the consultation with recreational clubs on the draft Handbook on Tree Management prepared by the Development Bureau (DEVB), the trade was concerned about high compliance costs of the good practice to conduct annual risk assessment on each and every single tree. The DEVB has clarified that tree owners could, according to the intensity and frequency of use of the area, identify target areas for undertaking tree group inspection followed by necessary mitigation measures or conduct individual tree risk assessment for trees that require detailed assessment. The BLGTF appreciates the clarification made by the bureau.

         The committee also appreciates the continuous efforts of the bureaux and departments in further enhancing their business licensing services under the "Be the Smart Regulator" Programme. Major progress is highlighted below:

         (a) To reduce their compliance costs for using cleaner fuel while at berth within Hong Kong's waters and to maintain Hong Kong's port competitiveness, ocean going vessels registered with the Environmental Protection Department under an incentive scheme can enjoy port facilities and light dues concession up to March 31, 2018;

         (b) To reduce the trade's administrative burden on licence renewal, licensees are no longer required to annually inform the Registrar of Travel Agents of their selection of licence language and places where the books of accounts have been kept unless there are changes to this information; and

         (c) The Land Registry has launched an e-Alert service for subscription by property owners. This notification service helps property owners to monitor if any instrument affecting their properties has been lodged for registration.


    July 22, 2016

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