The Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Timothy Tong, today (April 14) joined forces with the Director General of Shenzhen Customs District, Mr Zou Zhiwu, to explore how both administrations could further strengthen their work in suppressing cross-boundary smuggling activities.
Mr Tong said, "Mr Zou's visit to Hong Kong Customs today marks yet another step forward following our Annual Review Meeting held between the General Administration of Customs and Hong Kong Customs in January this year."
In the meeting, it was resolved that Hong Kong and Shenzhen Customs should continue to strengthen their exchange of intelligence, and conduct more joint operations to clamp down on cross-boundary smuggling activities.
"More specifically, we have agreed to have our investigators meeting regularly to exchange intelligence, and to update each other on progress in our respective investigations," Mr Tong added.
"Our contact point meetings will also facilitate conduct of our joint actions."
Actions will be targeted at, inter alia, smuggling of illicit oil and contraband such as computer parts into the Mainland.
Capitalising on the existing close working relationship, both Customs were determined to explore ways to strengthen their enforcement.
In a reception to welcome Mr Zou, Mr Tong emphasised the importance of maintaining a close relationship with his counterparts.
Passenger and cargo traffic between the two cities is voluminous. There is an average of some 160,000 passengers per day coming to Hong Kong through various checkpoints at Shenzhen; and an average of 56,400 metric tons of incoming cargo from Shenzhen every day.
Mr Tong said Hong Kong Customs accorded paramount priority to law enforcement as well as trade facilitation.
Citing the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) as an example, Mr Tong was pleased to note that implementation of CEPA had been smooth under the close co-operation of the two Customs Administrations.
As of yesterday (April 13), 718 Certificate of Origin applications had been received; of which 672 applications involving $294 million had been approved. Of the total number of applications, 287 cases involving $117 million had been approved in the past 30 days.
In order to prevent the abuse of CEPA by unscrupulous traders, Hong Kong Customs will continue its rigorous trade control measures, such as preventing false declarations; reinforcing inspection of factories; inspecting production records; and conducting surprise checks on goods by using risk management.
All of these measures would help promote a favourable platform for investment, and motivate further co-operation on trade between the two cities, Mr Tong added.
Ends/Wednesday, April 14, 2004