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|Friday, February 16, 2001, updated at 17:35(GMT+8)|
HK Chief Meets Canadian PMChief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Tung Chee Hwa met on Friday at Government House with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and the Team Canada Trade Mission headed by him.
The visit of the Team Canada trade mission to Hong Kong signified the importance of the trade, investment, and cultural relationship between Canada and Hong Kong, said Tung.
Noting China's imminent accession to the World Trade Organization and the extensive development of the Western Region would provide enormous opportunities for both foreign and local companies, Tung said Hong Kong's position as the gateway to the Chinese mainland would further strengthen.
Hong Kong companies stood ready to assist Canadian businesses interested in exploring this huge market of China, Tung added.
Tung briefed the Canadian prime minister and his delegation on economic developments of the HKSAR and the successful implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" with the Hong Kong community developing a new sense of direction and charting their own course as a Special Administrative Region of China.
"We were fully committed to maintaining the rule of law in Hong Kong and upholding the freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law.
These values are cherished by the Hong Kong community and are important to international companies doing business in Hong Kong," said Tung.
Hong Kong was also making progress in improving the environment, particularly in air quality, and was initiating wide ranging reforms to its education system, Tung said.
Following the meeting, Tung and Chretien witnessed the signing of four bilateral agreements, namely, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters;MOU on Film and Television Co-production; Work Plan 2001 for Environmental Collaboration; and MOU on Promotion and Development of Internet Learning Programs and Applications.
Legal Assistance AgreementThe Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Canada signed an agreement concerning mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
The agreement, signed by Hong Kong's Secretary for Security Regina Ip and Canada's Secretary of State for Asia Pacific Rey Pagtakhan, is the ninth of its kind that the HKSAR has signed on international co-operation against crime.
The major kinds of assistance covered by the agreement are serving documents; taking evidence; executing requests for search and seizure; transferring persons to appear as witnesses; and tracing, restraining, forfeiting and confiscating proceeds and instrumentalities of criminal activities.
The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, which provides the necessary legislative backing for the implementation of the agreement, is already in place.
The MLA Agreement will enter into force on the first day of the second month after the date on which the parties have notified each other that their respective requirements for the entry into force of the agreement have been complied with.
MOU on Film, Television Co-productionThe Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Canada signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on Film and Television Co-production (MOU) with the aim of enabling Hong Kong and Canadian producers to pool resources to co-produce quality films and television programs.
The MOU enables Hong Kong and Canadian film and television program producers to pool together their creative, technicaland budgetary resources to co-produce quality films and television programs.
"Co-productions under this MOU will be accorded the status of national productions and will be entitled to unrestricted market access to Canada, and the MOU also helps to foster economic and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and Canada," said a spokesman for the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau.
The MOU sets out specific requirements that co-production projects have to fulfill in areas such as financial and technical contribution of co-producers, location where the production takes place and nationality of the production personnel.
According to the spokesman, the new MOU signed Friday will replaces a MOU signed in 1991 to update some of the clauses and to build in more flexibility for an application to qualify as Hong Kong-Canada co-productions.
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