Mr. Liu Xiaoqi, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) met with senior representatives of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong during his visit to Hong Kong in late June 2007. Taking this opportunity, the BDC reflected to MOFCOM that some local government departments had imposed over-strict censorship on advertisements quoting brand awards received in Hong Kong. In April 2008, a high-level delegation to Beijing dispatched by the CMA also helped convey BDC’s repeated call for and ground-breaking suggestions on cross-border cooperation in the arena of branding:
1. To incorporate brand cooperation into the framework of CEPA. Brand cooperation between Hong Kong and the Mainland should be included as one of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Measures under CEPA. As a step towards this direction, the cooperation between the brand-promoting organizations of the two places should be enhanced through, for example, mutual recognition of brand-related award schemes and the extension of “national treatments” to brands of each other.
2. To give official recognition to Hong Kong’s major brand award schemes. It has come to BDC’s attention that some local government departments in the Mainland have imposed restrictive regulations to prohibit Hong Kong companies from quoting non-domestic brand awards in their advertisements and other commercial promotions. To the extent that mutual recognition mechanisms for many professional qualifications have already been set up under the CEPA framework, it is suggested that the Mainland Government should consider giving official recognition and “national treatments” to major brand-related award schemes that are widely-received in Hong Kong, e.g. the Hong Kong Top Brand Awards and Hong Kong Top Service Brand Awards. Under such arrangements, a Hong Kong brand should be given green light to use the recognized awards for promotional purpose when presenting a certified document issued by the Hong Kong organizers.
3. To strengthen protection on Hong Kong brands. As a fast track for enhancing the intellectual property protection for Hong Kong brands in the Mainland, the Mainland Government may consider extending special protection currently enjoyed by “China Well-known Trademarks” to Hong Kong’s famous brands under certain recommendation mechanism.
4. To implement concrete measures to facilitate trademark registration across the border. For example, 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.