BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- A senior official with the Ministry of Commerce has said it is seeking closer trade and economy ties with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Sun Tong, deputy head of the ministry's Department of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, revealed on Thursday that a supplement to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), an accord to boost trade and economic cooperation and exchanges, will be signed this year to secure more service trade liberation between the two regions.
"The mainland's openness to Hong Kong, embodied by CEPA, represents the mainland's most significant opening-up to the outside world," Sun said.
Since 2003, the CEPA and the ensuing 10 supplements to the accord have secured a relatively open trade and economic system, with the mainland canceling tariffs for Hong Kong-made products and implementing 403 other liberalization measures for trade in services.
Under the CEPA framework, businesses from Hong Kong in a wide range of sectors, including banking, logistics, films, health and architecture, have seen fast expansion in the mainland.
Ministry figures released on Thursday show that the mainland and Hong Kong co-produced 322 films between the start of 2003 and the end of 2013, accounting for 68.5 percent of all films jointly made by the mainland and overseas regions.
Unlike foreign films that have to squeeze within an import quota of 34 per year, mainland-Hong Kong co-productions enjoy no theatrical release limits on the mainland.
Last year, 16 such co-productions topped 100 million yuan (16.52 million U.S. dollars) each in box office across the mainland.
Meanwhile, 20 Hong Kong-based health institutions had made investments on the mainland with favorable treatment stipulated by the CEPA as of the end of 2013, and 76,000 Hong Kong professionals in the sector had gained licenses for short-term practices in the mainland, according to the ministry.