Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Industry, Mr CHAU Tak Hay, at the "10 Million Trade Declarations" Cocktail Reception today (September 28) (English only):
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
As both the Chairman of Tradelink and the Secretary for Commerce and Industry, I am delighted to take part in today's event to celebrate an important milestone for Tradelink and for e-commerce in Hong Kong.
On August 31, Tradelink processed the 10 millionth electronic trade declaration this year, a number which surpasses the total for the whole of 1999. This is indeed an important achievement. For Tradelink, it reflects the growing popularity of its services. It is also the fruit of several years of hard work on the part of Tradelink and its staff.
Hong Kong must stay ahead in e-commerce if we are to remain competitive in the global economy. The Government is committed to creating a favourable environment in which e-commerce can flourish. We have enacted the Electronic Transactions Ordinance to give electronic records and digital signatures the same legal status as that of their paper counterparts. We have also established a public key infrastructure supported by local certification authorities. These measures provide the much needed security and reliability for electronic transactions.
To induce the business sector to conduct transactions electronically, the Government is mandating the submission of certain statutory trade-related documents by electronic means. And to practise what we preach, the Government will roll out an Electronic Service Delivery scheme next month. This scheme will enable members of the public to obtain a wide range of Government services online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
That Tradelink was able to reach the 10-million milestone in a short period of time is an indication of the trading community's enthusiasm for e-commerce. We are not just celebrating Tradelink's achievement today. We are also saluting the collective efforts of all those enterprises that have gone electronic. I am particularly pleased that many of them are small or medium sized enterprises, of which Time Force Limited - the recipient of today's commemorative award - is a fine example.
Let me end by wishing all companies which have embraced e-commerce every success in the future. Your individual successes will ultimately be the success of Hong Kong.
End/Thursday, September 28, 2000