Hong Kong 2003
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Business and Services Promotion

The Government launched the Helping Business Programme in 1996, with the aim of creating a more business-friendly environment and maintaining Hong Kong's position as one of the best places in the world for doing business. Measures were initiated under the programme to cut government red tape and eliminate over-regulation; reduce costs of compliance to business; and introduce new and improved services.

During the year, 10 studies and projects were completed under the Helping Business Programme and some 50 recommendations were identified. Helping business initiatives introduced by various government agencies in the year included implementation of an Open Bond System to provide flexibility and reduce the operating costs for the dutiable commodity trade; launch of on-screen fillable forms on the Government Forms website (http://www.info.gov.hk/forms) to provide alternatives for the public to access and fill in government forms electronically; streamlining the Transport Department's processes and operations and enhancing its communication with the trade; and identifying opportunities to streamline the regulatory procedures and shorten the processing time for issue of licences and permits for the construction industry.

To promote services, the Government organised different publicity activities such as the 'Soar Over Hong Kong' scheme, 'Quality Customer Services' programme and other projects to promote among the community a better understanding of Hong Kong's services economy and awareness of the importance of quality service.

Specific efforts were also made by Government to promote Hong Kong's professional services. These included the $100 million Professional Services Development Assistance Scheme, which was launched in February 2002 to provide funding support, on an equal matching basis, for the eligible professional service sectors to organise projects which aim to enhance the external competitiveness and standard of Hong Kong's professional services. Media publicity was also launched in the Pearl River Delta area to promote Hong Kong's professional services there.

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