ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Foreign trade free-fall sparks government action

The relentless drop in foreign trade has finally goaded the government to act.

The Commerce & Economic Development Bureau has proposed halving import and export declaration charges to benefit businesses.

The proposal follows another month of dispiriting foreign trade results. The Census & Statistics Department said the volume of total exports decreased 5.1% while the volume of imports fell 1.1% in the first two months of the year.

The commerce bureau proposal will help companies lodging trade declarations save an average of $9,000 a year. It said the cuts will boost Hong Kong's external trade as it will lower transaction costs, benefiting the import-export sector and enhancing the city's competitiveness as an international trading centre.

The Import & Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 2012 will be tabled at the Legislative Council on May 9, for implementation on June 1.

The volume of Hong Kong’s goods re-exports dropped 4.5% in the first two months of the year compared with the same period in 2011, while that of domestic exports fell 34.6%.

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