For Information

Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Trade and Industry

Assistance to Hong Kong Entrepreneurs
Encountering Difficulties in the Mainland


This paper informs Members of the scope of Government assistance to Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs encountering problems in the Mainland.

Problem Prevention

2.Hong Kong businessmen may encounter problems in the Mainland because they are unfamiliar with its laws and regulations. In view of this, and for the purpose of trade and investment promotion, the Trade Department and Trade Development Council (TDC) collect and disseminate information on laws and regulations of the Mainland regularly. They do so by maintaining contacts with the relevant authorities in the Mainland, liaising regularly with various trade advisory bodies and trade associations in Hong Kong, operating information library services and organising seminars and meetings. The TDC's network of eleven branch offices in the Mainland play an important role in the information collection and dissemination.

3.Small and medium enterprises (SMES) often lack the resources to conduct their own research on the business environment in the Mainland. In this regard, the TDC has set up a Business Library, within which a dedicated SME Centre has been established to enable SMEs to, among other things, acquire the necessary information to facilitate the smooth operation of their businesses in the Mainland.

Assistance for Entrepreneurs Encountering Problems

4.Commercial disputes should be, in principle, settled through proper legal means in accordance with the law. As the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs pointed out in his reply to the Hon Paul Cheng's question raised at the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) sitting on 12 November 1997, given the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, there is the question of whether the Government should or could intervene in matters involving the administrative, legal and judicial systems in the Mainland. We see limited scope for Government's direct involvement in resolving problems relating to specific cases of commercial disputes. However, the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs is liaising with the Central People's Government to explore whether there is any scope of assisting or otherwise advising specific complainants about the avenues available in the Mainland for them to pursue these cases. This will be the subject of a question to be raised at the PLC sitting on 25 March 1998. 5.In addition, the eleven branch offices of the TDC in the Mainland, with their wealth of expertise and their network of contacts, can offer advice to Hong Kong businessmen on, for example, channels through which to lodge complaints and the hiring of lawyers.

Trade and Industry Bureau
March 1998