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Restoring WTO dispute system urged

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau called on World Trade Organization (WTO) members to support the restoration of a fully functioning dispute settlement system during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, yesterday.   At a meeting on dispute settlement reform, Mr Yau said the dispute settlement system has functioned as a cornerstone of global trade, creating stability and predictability. He added that to have a well-functioning system restored this year, as was mandated at MC12, would serve the interests of all WTO members and of the global business community.   He stressed that Hong Kong, China has been involved in every stage of the reform process in relation to dispute settlement and will continue its active participation.   Speaking at another meeting, on development, Mr Yau said that the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement is a very much a pro-development agreement.   He highligh

HK, Russia sign prisoner transfer deal

Hong Kong and Russia today signed bilateral agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and the transfer of sentenced persons.   The agreements were signed by Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung and Russian Minister of Justice Konstantin Chuychenko via video conference.   At the signing ceremony, Mr Tang said both Hong Kong and Russia are committed players in the international efforts to fight crimes and the signing of such agreements represents an important step forward in legal co-operation between the two places.   Under the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government can, with the authorisation of the Central People’s Government, make appropriate arrangements with foreign states for reciprocal juridical assistance.   The mutual legal assistance agreement contains the essential features and safeguards of international agreements of this type.   The assistance covered included identifying and locating people, serving documents, taking evidence, executing requests for search and seizure, providing information and confiscating proceeds of crime.   The agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons embodies the shared conviction of both places that allowing such people to return to their places of origin, where there are no language or cultural barriers and where friends and relatives can pay more visits, is conducive to their rehabilitation.   Hong Kong’s policy is therefore to facilitate such transfers between the city and other jurisdictions as far as possible.
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