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Trade and Industry Department The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Brand Hong Kong - Asia world city

Notice to Service Suppliers

Ref: CR TID/CEPA 7/7

13 May 2016

Dear Sirs,

Notice to Service Suppliers No. 2/2016

Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA)
Arrangements and Application Procedures for Renewal of Hong Kong Service Supplier (HKSS) Certificate

I. INTRODUCTION

In accordance with CEPA, the Trade and Industry Department (TID) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has implemented a Hong Kong Service Supplier Certification Scheme since October 2003, issuing HKSS certificates to enterprises fulfilling the definition and related requirement of HKSS. Each certificate is valid for two years. Enterprises who wish to extend the validity of their HKSS certificates may, on a voluntary basis, apply to TID to renew their certificates which will expire soon.

2.This Notice announces the requirements and procedures for application of renewal of an HKSS certificate under CEPA and the Agreement on Trade in Services. This Notice supersedes, with immediate effect, Notice to Service Suppliers No. 2/2015 issued on 27 February 2015 by TID. All applicants should, with effect from the date of issue of this Notice, follow the procedures and requirements stipulated in this Notice in applying for renewal of an HKSS certificate.

II. DETAILS

Application Requirements

3.All holders of HKSS certificates who wish to renew their certificates must continue to fulfill the definition and requirements for Hong Kong service supplier set out in Annex 3 to the Agreement on Trade in Services. For details, please refer to the latest Notice to Service Suppliers on Application Procedures for HKSS Certificate issued from time to time by TID and the relevant provisions in CEPA and the Agreement on Trade in Services, which are available on the following TID's webpages -

4.Eligible holders of HKSS certificates should submit their renewal applications to TID within the period of 60 days before and 180 days after the date of expiry of their HKSS certificates. Applications for renewing HKSS certificates that have already expired for over 180 days would not be entertained. If necessary, enterprises may submit fresh applications for HKSS certificates to TID by following the requirements and procedures set out in the latest Notice to Service Suppliers on Application Procedures for HKSS Certificate issued from time to time by TID.

5.The renewed HKSS certificate will be valid for two years from the date of expiry of the previous certificate.

Application Procedures and Supporting Documents

6.To apply for renewal of HKSS certificate(s), an applicant should submit the following documents to TID:

  1. a duly completed application form for renewal of HKSS Certificate [Form TID 110] (proforma at Appendix 1, whose latest version can be downloaded from TID's webpage). Each application form shall cover renewal application of only one certificate held by the applicant (Note 1);
  1. a copy of Statutory Declaration attested by an attesting officer recognized by the Mainland (i.e. China Appointed Attesting Officer (Note 2)). The Statutory Declaration must be made by the applicant's authorized person (Note 3) in accordance with the procedures and requirements of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11) of the HKSAR. The Statutory Declaration must be completed in Chinese. A proforma of the Statutory Declaration in Chinese is set out in Appendix 2A [Form HKSS 005]. Non-Chinese speakers requiring interpretation of the content of the declaration should use the proforma at Appendix 2B [Form HKSS 006] (also in Chinese). The latest versions of these two proforma can be downloaded from TID's webpage. Statutory Declaration should contain the certificate number and name of the service sector/sub-sector of the HKSS certificate that the applicant intends to apply for renewal;
  1. (Applicable to companies formed and registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) or a former Companies Ordinance of the HKSAR) a copy of the valid Certificate of Incorporation (including Certificate(s) of Change of Name, if applicable) of the applicant. Copies of these documents should be certified by the Companies Registry of the HKSAR or a Designated Professional (Note 4) ;
  1. a copy of the valid Business Registration Certificate of the applicant, certified by the Business Registration Office (BRO) of the Inland Revenue Department of the HKSAR or a Designated Professional (Note 4);
  1. a copy of a complete Extract of Information on the Business Register issued by BRO within 90 days prior to the date of lodgement of the renewal application and certified by the BRO or a Designated Professional (Note 4); and
  1. a copy of the HKSS certificate concerned.

7.The required documents set out in paragraph 6 above should be submitted either by post or in person to the Hong Kong Service Supplier Certification Section of TID. The opening hours of the Section are:

Mondays to Fridays
(except for public holidays)
: 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

8.TID will acknowledge receipt of the applications. TID may, in the circumstances it considers necessary, entrust other government departments, statutory bodies or any independent professional personnel/institutions to conduct verification/certification of the information provided in the application form and the accompanying documents (including the Statutory Declaration). Moreover, TID reserves at all times the absolute right to request the applicant to provide additional information or further documentary proof to verify its application.

9.Under normal circumstances, TID will complete the processing of a renewal application within 5 clear working days from the date of its receipt of the duly completed application form accompanied by an attested copy of a Statutory Declaration and all necessary supporting documents. TID will then notify the applicant of the result of application. Successful applicants will receive a payment notice of the application fee. A renewed HKSS certificate will be issued to the applicant upon payment of the application fee. Payment can be made by cash or by cheque made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". If an application form is not properly completed or there are discrepancies in the information declared therein, or the application form is not accompanied by all necessary documents or if there are discrepancies in the information provided in the accompanying documents, the processing time will be longer. If the applicant fails to provide accurate information and/or the necessary documents (including the Statutory Declaration), its application will be rejected.

Application Fee

10.The current application fee for renewal of HKSS certificate is HK$305 per application. Apart from the application fee, applicants should also be responsible for all expenses incurred for the verification or certification of the documents (including the attestation of the Statutory Declaration) as stipulated in paragraphs 6 and 8 above.

Amendment/Cancellation of Applications

11.The applicant should immediately cancel the application in writing and lodge a fresh application form together with the supporting documents required if there is any substantial change to the information provided in the application form and its accompanying supporting documents concerning its eligibility as a Hong Kong service supplier under CEPA and the Agreement on Trade in Services. At the same time, the applicant should also make a fresh Statutory Declaration in accordance with the provisions set out in paragraph 6(b) above. An attested copy of the Statutory Declaration, together with a new application form and the supporting documents required should be submitted to the Hong Kong Service Supplier Certification Section of TID either by post or in person.

12.If an applicant wishes to cancel its application for renewing HKSS certificate after submission, it should immediately submit a cancellation request in writing to the Hong Kong Service Supplier Certification Section of TID either by post or in person.

Handling of Information

13.TID is committed to ensuring all personal data provided in the applications for renewal of HKSS certificate and in all the accompanying supporting documents (including the Statutory Declaration) are handled in accordance with the provisions of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486) of the HKSAR. In this regard, the personal data provided in the above documents will be used by TID or its authorized persons/institutions for activities relating to the processing and verification of applications for renewal of HKSS certificate, and related statistical and research work.

14.TID will keep the personal data provided in the applications and their accompanying documents in strict confidence. However, TID may disclose such data to other government departments, or to third parties within or outside Hong Kong under certain circumstances. Such circumstances may include: TID is of the view that the disclosure is necessary to facilitate the Mainland's examining authorities to verify the applications for obtaining the preferential treatments under CEPA and the Agreement on Trade in Services; for the purposes mentioned in paragraph 13 above; the disclosure is authorized or required by law; or explicit consent to the disclosure is given by the applicant/data subject. If necessary, TID will contact other government departments or specified independent institutions or persons to verify the personal data provided in the applications with those held by them.

15.Applicants and data subjects whose data are collected by TID may request access to such data under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance of the HKSAR. Such requests should be made on the Data Access Request Form (No. OPS003) issued by the Privacy Commissioner, which is available at the Information Counter of TID or can be downloaded from TID's webpage. The duly completed Request Form should be sent to the Hong Kong Service Supplier Certification Section. A charge will be made to cover the cost of photocopying. In addition, if the data subject considers that the data supplied to TID is inaccurate, a request for correction of the data may be made in writing after a data request has been complied with.

16.Separately, TID may publish and/or disclose the names of holders of valid HKSS Certificates to third parties within or outside Hong Kong. Please contact the Customer Service Manager of the Hong Kong Service Supplier Certification Section of TID at telephone no. 3403 6004 if there are questions on this matter.

III. IMPORTANT NOTES

17.It is the responsibility of the applicant to complete the application form fully and truthfully and provide the supporting documents as required (including the Statutory Declaration). Failing to provide accurate and complete information may affect the consideration and processing of the applications, and may result in their being deferred or rejected.

18.After granting of a renewed HKSS certificate, if there is any change in the relevant particulars of the applicant that would affect its eligibility as a Hong Kong service supplier, the applicant must immediately notify TID in writing of such a change. If it is found that the applicant has obtained its renewed HKSS certificate by means of any misrepresentation or omission of information, or by any other fraudulent means, or in the case that the applicant is no longer fulfilling the eligibility criteria for Hong Kong service supplier as stipulated in Annex 3 to the Agreement on Trade in Services, TID may cancel the application concerned or revoke any HKSS certificate renewed.

19.During the validity period of the HKSS certificates, if more than 50% of the equity interest of the holders of the HKSS certificates has been owned by way of merger or acquisition by service suppliers not from the Mainland or Hong Kong, TID may revoke the HKSS certificates for which renewal is sought, as well as all other HKSS certificates held by the service suppliers in question. The above-mentioned service supplier may, however, make a fresh application for an HKSS certificate one year after 50% of its shares being acquired by service suppliers not from the Mainland or Hong Kong.

20.According to the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) of the HKSAR, any person who knowingly and wilfully makes (otherwise than on oath) a statement false in a material particular, such statement being made in a statutory declaration shall be liable on conviction upon indictment to imprisonment for 2 years and to a fine.

21.If the application, the supporting documents and/or the attested copy of the Statutory Declaration are submitted by post, TID will not accept the responsibility for any loss of documents in transit.

IV. ENQUIRIES

22.For enquiries relating to the application procedures or details of applying for renewal of an HKSS certificate, please contact the Hong Kong Service Supplier Certification Section of TID at:

Address : Room 1605, 16/F, Trade and Industry Tower,
3 Concorde Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon
Tel : 3403 6428
Fax : 3547 1348
E-mail : hkss@tid.gov.hk

Yours faithfully,

(Miss Kennis LO)

for Director-General of Trade and Industry

(Note 1)
Applicants submitting more than one application on the same day involving HKSS certificates under different service sectors are allowed to support their different applications with only one set of certified copies of the common supporting documents for assessment.  However, each application should include a separate application form, an attested Statutory Declaration for each HKSS certificate concerned and a copy of the HKSS certificate to be renewed.  Applicants should also be responsible for payment of all expenses incurred for each separate application.
(Note 2)
China Appointed Attesting Officers refer to practising lawyers in Hong Kong registered under the Legal Practitioners Ordinance (Cap. 159) of the HKSAR, who are recognized by the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China.  The relevant list is available at the website of the Association of China-Appointed Attesting Officers Ltd or the Law Society of Hong Kong's website.
(Note 3)
The authorized person of a "Hong Kong service supplier" should be the sole proprietor (in the case of sole proprietorship), one of the partners (in the case of partnership), or a director/responsible officer authorized by the Board of Directors (in the case of a limited company) of the applicant.
(Note 4)
Professionals specified by TID pursuant to Article 6.1.1 of Annex 3 to the Agreement on Trade in Services (i.e. Designated Professionals) include:
 
(i) certified public accountants (practising) of Hong Kong (auditors) i.e. certified public accountants registered under the Professional Accountants Ordinance (Cap. 50) of the HKSAR and holding a practising certificate.  A register of certified public accountants is available for perusal by the public at the office of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants at Membership Counter, 27/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong.  The register is also available at the Institute's website at http://www.hkicpa.org.hk/; and
(ii) practising lawyers in Hong Kong registered under the Legal Practitioners Ordinance (Cap. 159) of the HKSAR, who are recognized by the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China (i.e. China Appointed Attesting Officers).  The relevant list is available at the website of the Association of China-Appointed Attesting Officers Ltd or the Hong Kong Law Society's website.

For applications covering legal services [LES], the Designated Professionals refer to item (ii) above only. 

Attesting authorities/persons should on the relevant documents/reports (a) state the certification result, certification date, full name of the attesting authority/person; and (b) affix the signature of the attesting authority/person.  The attested documents/reports should be stamped with the chop of the authority, if possible.