In August 2006, the Council led a high-level delegation to Beijing and met with high-level officials of branding-related departments of the Central Government, including the Ministry of Commerce, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, China Promotion Committee for Top Brand Strategy, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and the State Trademark Office. In a fruitful discussion with Mainland officials on the possibility of cross-border cooperation in the arena of branding, the BDC put forward the following preliminary proposals:
1. Brand cooperation between Hong Kong and the Mainland should be incorporated as one of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Measures under the CEPA framework. As a step towards this direction, the mutual cooperation between the brand-promoting organizations of the two places should be enhanced, and “national treatments” should be given to Hong Kong brands.
2. Concrete measures for facilitating the intellectual property protection across the border should be formulated. While setting up branches or appointing more agencies in Hong Kong to handle Chinese trademark registration, the State Trademark Office may consider extending special protection currently enjoyed by “China Well-known Trademarks” to Hong Kong’s famous brands under certain recommendation mechanism. On the other hand, the trademark registration procedures of Hong Kong and the Mainland may be consolidated and then simplified, through government-level arrangements like reciprocal agency or even joint registration.
3. The reciprocal recognition between Hong Kong Top Brands and China Top Brands should be established and the strategic partnership between the BDC and China Top Promotion Committee for Top Brand Strategy as well as brand-promoting organizations at the provincial level should be stepped up.
4. It is also suggested that Hong Kong and Mainland should crystallize joint initiatives in brand benchmarking, research, promotion, protection, as well as internationalization programs, so as to sharpen and better leverage on Hong Kong’s role as a spring-board for the “Going Out” adventure of Mainland brands.