The Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Ordinance 2005, which was passed by the Legislative Council on June 8, has been gazetted today (June 17) to take immediate effect.
One of the purposes of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap. 362) (the TDO) is to prohibit false trade descriptions from being applied to goods. Origin marking is a type of trade descriptions and hence is governed by the Ordinance. Under the TDO, origin marking of goods is not mandatory but where such marking is used, it must not be false or misleading.
Some provisions in the TDO, namely section 2(2)(a) which provides for a general deeming provision for determining the origin of goods and section 2(2)(b)(ii) is about the Commissioner of Customs and Excise's power to specify special origin-marking requirement for the purpose of the TDO, make reference to "country" only. This has caused inflexibility when the provisions need to be applied to a "place" where the goods are manufactured.
The main purpose of the Amendment Ordinance is to provide flexibility in the application of sections 2(2)(a) and 2(2)(b)(ii) of the TDO, so that in determining the origin of goods for the purpose of the TDO, these provisions can be applied not only to a "country" but also to a "place".
The Amendment Ordinance also introduces consequential amendments to other provisions in the TDO to achieve consistency and clarify the application of existing provisions in the light of the amendments to replace references to "country/countries" by "place/places".
The Amendment Ordinance will not affect the legal framework for the issue of certificates of origin by the Director-General of Trade and Industry and any approved bodies, as it is provided under the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60) and its subsidiary legislation and the Protection of Non-Government Certificates of Origin Ordinance (Cap. 324) respectively but not the TDO.
Ends/Friday, June 17, 2005