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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

Civil servants help with flood relief

Secretary for the Civil Service Ingrid Yeung today said the Government is mobilising civil servants to help people who have been affected by the flooding in more remote areas to restore their home and road situation.   Speaking to reporters after attending a radio programme this morning, Mrs Yeung said the emergency departments are mainly responsible for dealing with situations such as landslides and flooding and have deployed all their staff in the past two days.   “For other work that can only be done when the roads have been reopened, when the flooding has subsided, we are now mobilising civil servants from other departments that do not deal with these emergencies to help with the work.”   She noted that the deployment of other civil servants for restoration work is under the charge of the Home Affairs Department and the respective district offices.   As to whether the mobilisation could have been done earlier, Mrs Yeung said at the height of a rainstorm, it is mainly the emergency departments and the departments that deal with repairing roads and the removal of obstructions that are working.   “When the roads are blocked, when the flooding has still not subsided, it would not be possible to mobilise civil servants to go to these very local areas to help.   “We have to let the emergency departments deal with these emergency situations first, then we mobilise our staff to go under relatively safe conditions to help the families and residents affected,” she added.

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