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SMS sender scheme expanded

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today that the SMS Sender Registration Scheme is now open for application by all sectors to further help the public verify the identities of SMS senders, with a view to combatting SMS fraud.   Apart from further opening up the scheme, the OFCA said it welcomes public and private organisations from various industries with a practical need to communicate with customers or clients via SMS to join the scheme.   Under the scheme, only registered senders are able to send SMS messages using their registered SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. All other SMS messages with sender IDs containing “#” but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by the telecommunications networks.   As such, the public can easily identify whether an SMS message is received from a registered sender by the prefix “#” in the SMS sender ID.   The OFCA reminds citizens to stay highly vigilant when receiving SMS messages from unknown sender

FTA to cover more product categories

Hong Kong today signed a protocol to almost treble the range of specified product categories to be covered by the city’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


The protocol will update the product specific rules (PSR) of origin under the FTA, enhancing PSR coverage from more than 200 categories of products to almost 600.


This means the city’s businesses will be able to gain Hong Kong-originating status for an increased number of products more easily and effectively, thereby enjoying preferential tariff treatment for these products when expanding into the growing ASEAN market.


The specified products incorporated into the FTA fall into various categories of interest to Hong Kong traders and manufacturers, including jewellery, medicaments, food products and textile products.


The signing of the protocol will help enhance the competitiveness of the products concerned, as well as trade flows, creating more opportunities for Hong Kong businesses in the ASEAN market.


On signing the protocol, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau highlighted that ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second-largest trading partner in merchandise trade, adding: “Our burgeoning trade has been uplifted by the FTA, signifying the latter’s importance in consolidating our position as an international trade centre.”


The commerce chief said he has full confidence that the implementation of the protocol will further drive growth in Hong Kong’s economic and trade relations with ASEAN member states.


The text of the First Protocol to Amend the Free Trade Agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations & Hong Kong will be uploaded onto the Trade & Industry Department's website after all parties have completed its signing.


Hong Kong and ASEAN will continue to work closely to bring about early implementation of the protocol, so that Hong Kong exporters can reap its benefits as soon as possible.

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