It is much common that geographic origin could give rise to a labelling effect, endowing products that derive from a certain location with some special quality, reputation or other characteristics. With the rapid growth of export trade, Hong Kong has been held in high regard internationally as a place capable of manufacturing trendy, high-quality, and value-for-money goods with excellent after-sales services. Indeed, there is a growing trend that Hong Kong manufacturers and traders deliberately use labels, signs or texts on their product, the packaging and promotional materials thereof to highlight the Hong Kong origin of such goods.
The Made in Hong Kong Mark Scheme (the Scheme) introduces a unified visual identity system to represent the geographic origin of goods produced within the territory of Hong Kong, with the objective of raising the profile of Hong Kong products, enhancing their value-added attributes, and promoting “Made in Hong Kong” as an internationally-recognized location brand that symbolizes high quality, outstanding performance and superior reputation. Based primarily on Hong Kong’s existing Certificates of Origin regime, the Scheme adopts a simple but well-structured licensing arrangement.
The Scheme is organised by the Hong Kong Brand Development Council (the BDC) and administered by a Steering Committee under the BDC, and the routine operation of the Scheme is carried out by the Issuing Organisations approved by the BDC.
For goods originating from Hong Kong, the producer or trader can apply for a Made in Hong Kong Mark License (License) if it holds a valid certificate of Hong Kong origin issued by a Government-approved certification body or a recognized organisation in Hong Kong. After successful completion of due registration and review process, a qualified applicant will be issued a License and granted the right to use the specially-designed Made in Hong Kong Mark (HK Mark) to indicate or promote the Hong Kong origin of the goods in question within the Scope of the License.
This document encompasses the rights and obligations of both the Organiser and Applicants or Licensees under the Scheme. The document prevails all other documents in case inconsistency arises.
1. DEFINITIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS
For the purpose of the regulations detailed in this booklet, the following definitions and abbreviations shall apply:
An organisation that pursues the attainment of Made in Hong Kong Mark License.
Certificate of Hong Kong Origin
Official documents issued in Hong Kong by a Government-authorized body or an organisation recognized by the Hong Kong Brand Development Council to certify that the goods concerned are of Hong Kong origin, including ordinary Certificate of Hong Kong Origin (CHKO), Certificate of Origin–CEPA (CO(CEPA)), Document of Hong Kong Origin–Domestic Sales (DO) or equivalents.
Hong Kong Brand Development Council Co. Ltd.
Hong Kong Brand Development Council
Hong Kong Brand Development Council Co. Ltd.
Organisations that have been authorized by the Organiser to handle the routine operations of the Scheme.
Made in Hong Kong Mark License, an official document issued by the Organiser to grant an organisation the right to use the Mark for indicating that the goods specified in the Scope of License are of Hong Kong origin.
An organisation that has been conferred the Made in Hong Kong Mark License and has agreed to protect the interests of the Organiser and the Issuing Organisation by following the regulations stipulated in this document.
A due process performed by the Organiser or its designated representatives at the operating location of the applicant to verify the capability of applicant or licensee to meet the requirements and regulations required by the Scheme. On-site Assessment usually takes the form of information validation, interview with the management, inspection of production line, and check on the related documents like production records, invoice, bill of lading, etc.
Hong Kong Brand Development Council (the Council), who operate the Made in Hong Kong Mark Scheme.
Documented requirements, e.g. terms and conditions, criterion, and procedure, that are relevant to the Scheme and established by the Organiser, including but not limited to “Made in Hong Kong Mark Issuing Criteria”, “Made in Hong Kong Mark Application Procedure”, and “Guideline on the Use of Made in Hong Kong Mark.”
Scope of license
The encompassment of the license that covers applicant’s company name; goods and the derivative items like packaging, catalogue, promotional materials and other forms of communications; certificate of origin for the goods in question, as reviewed or/and accepted by the Organiser.
Made in Hong Kong Mark Steering Committee, a dedicated committee set up by the Organiser to oversee and administer the Scheme.
A due process performed by the Organiser or its designated Issuing Organisations or representatives to investigate on the authenticity and accuracy of the information provided by an applicant or licensee.
Made in Hong Kong Mark, a sign comprising of logo and logotype specially designed by the Organiser. It can be used by an organisation authorized by the Organiser to identify goods as originating from Hong Kong.
2. AUTHORITY AND ADMINISTRATION OF HK MARK SCHEME
- The Organiser shall ensure impartiality of the Scheme at all times. And it should not cancel the Made in Hong Kong Mark License granted to licensees, except in accordance with the regulations stipulated in this document and other published requirements relevant to the Scheme.
- The Organiser shall have the duty and the right to interpret the details in this document and publish documents, as deemed necessary, to allow applicants and licensees to understand the intent and actual requirements of this document.
- The Steering Committee is the authority to establish the Scheme requirements related to the granting, maintenance, supervision, suspension or termination of the License and to administrate any other matters related to the Scheme on behalf of the Organiser.
- The Issuing Organisations are authorized by the Organiser to handle the routine operation of the Scheme, such as issuing, maintaining, suspending and terminating the license, and collecting application and related administrative fees, according to the Scheme requirements established by the Steering Committee.
- The Organiser keeps all information provided by an organisation in relation to an application for the License and all information obtained during the verification or On-site Assessment in strict confidence. Under this provision, only those personnel who require the information for the processing of application and administration of license will have access to such information. Such personnel will include the Steering Committee, and the administrative and supporting staff of the Organiser and the Issuing Organisation who are involved in the Scheme.
- The Organiser publishes information as necessary in order to inform and update applicant and licensee of the requirements and regulations for applying and maintaining the license.
- The Organiser may publicize on the media the authorization of license issuance and termination under the regulations, as it deems appropriate.
- The Organiser and the Issuing Organisations process application according to the issuing criteria and application procedure as defined in Appendix.
- The Organiser and the Issuing Organisations have the right to conduct verification on the information provided by the applicant or licensee, including making enquiry of related organizations, and to deploy assessment team to perform an on-site assessment on an applicant prior to the granting of the license as well as to a licensee at any time after the issue of the license.
- The Organiser will investigate any complaint made to the Organiser by a third party against a licensee regarding activities included in its scope of license.
- The Organiser shall not be liable to any loss or damage to applicants, licensees and other parties in relation to the usage of the Mark.
- The Organiser shall have the right to amend the contents of this document and Scheme requirements from time to time as needed without prior notice to applicants and licensees. Nevertheless, all change will only become effective 10 days after the new revision is published.
3. THE OBLIGATIONS OF AN APPLICANT AND LICENSEE
- Applicants and licensees shall be committed to following the regulations stipulated in this document and other published requirements relevant to the Scheme at all times.
- Applicants and licensees shall provide supporting documents related to the scope of license when submitting application and inform the Organiser of any change to them within a reasonable period of time (usually no longer than one month) from the date of effect.
- Applicants and licensees shall cooperate with the Organiser, Issuing Organisation, and assessment team and by providing verifiable facts and, to their best knowledge, all information pertinent to the Scheme requirements.
- Applicants and licensees shall appoint an authorized representative as a contact with the Issuing Organisation and inform the Issuing Organisation whenever there is a change to the appointment.
- Licensees shall endeavour to ensure the Mark is used properly and in accordance with the Guideline on the Use of Made in Hong Kong Mark.
- Licensees shall inform the Organiser in writing on the following changes relevant to the scope of license within a reasonable period of time (usually no longer than one month) from the date of effect:
i. The certificate of origin based on which the license is issued has been amended, revoked or suspended;
ii. Change of the manufacturing site(s), operating location(s) and the incorporation address of the applicant; and
iii. Change of ownership or other matters that affect the eligibility of the licensee to apply for the license.
- Licensees shall ensure the reputation and interests of the Organiser and Issuing Organisation will not be jeopardized under all circumstances.
- Upon suspension or termination of license, the organisation shall return such license to the corresponding Issuing Organisation within one month.
4. SUSPENSION AND TERMINATION
- The granting and maintenance of the license should be predicated on the availability of a valid certificate of origin issued in Hong Kong for the goods under application or within the scope of license. In the case that such certificate of origin has been revoked or suspended, or the its contents have been substantially amended, or that an offence in relation to the origin of the goods concerned has been convicted by the authority in Hong Kong or other regions, the license shall automatically terminate.
- If in the opinion of the Steering Committee, a licensee has failed to comply with or is incapable of complying with the Scheme requirements, it may suspend part of or entire scope of license of such licensee.
- The suspension imposed by the Steering Committee shall become effective on the date of the written notice issued by it. The notice shall detail the grounds of such suspension.
- Within two weeks from the date of the notice of suspension, the authorised representative shall provide the Steering Committee an action plan to rectify and prevent recurrence of any discrepancies raised by the Steering Committee.
- Action mentioned in the action plan shall be completed within a period of time as agreed by the Steering Committee. And a suspension can only be lifted upon the approval of Steering Committee after a review is conducted and the outcome is to the satisfaction of the Steering Committee.
- Under the suspension or termination, licensee in question shall not use the Mark for any business purposes.
- In case suspension cannot be lifted within two months, the license shall be withdrawn.
- The Organiser shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by licensee arising from whatever cause in connection with the termination or suspension of license
5. DISPUTES, COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS
- An applicant or licensee may lodge a complaint or a dispute against any decision made or action taken by the Issuing Organisation. A written submission setting out the grounds of such complaint and dispute shall be made to the Organiser within four weeks after such decision or action has been made or taken.
- The Steering Committee shall investigate and examine such complaints and disputes. The Organiser shall notify the organisation concerned the outcome of such investigation and examination.
- The organisation may lodge an appeal to the Organiser if it considers the outcome of the investigation and examination as specified in clause 5.2 above is not acceptable. A written submission to the Organiser shall be made with grounds of the appeal within four weeks from the date of notification of a decision.
- Upon a request from an organisation for appeal, Chairman of the Steering Committee shall convene a working committee, chaired by a Steering Committee member who has no prior involvement in the matter in question or a General Committee Member of the Organiser, to investigate the case.
- The chairman of the working party shall further appoint at least two independent persons to review the case.
- The Steering Committee shall make a decision on the review on the basis of the findings of the working committee. Chairman of the Steering Committee shall inform the organisation the result of the review in writing.
Appendix 1. License Issuing Criteria and Application Procedure
A. License Issuing Criteria
- Any goods to bear or use the Mark should be of Hong Kong origin and have been so certified by or an organization recognized by the Organiser. Certificates of origin in support of a License include ordinary Certificate of Hong Kong Origin (CHKO) and Certificate of Origin issued according to the Mainland-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CO(CEPA)) by the Government-approved certification bodies, as well as Document of Hong Kong Origin—Domestic Sales (DO) or equivalents that are issued for goods destined for Hong Kong’s domestic market by organisations such as the Chinese Manufacturers Associations of Hong Kong. Government-approved certification bodies include the Trade and Industry Department of HKSAR Government and the five Government Approved Certification Organisations (GACOs), namely, the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Hong Kong Industries, and Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong.
- The Made in Hong Kong Mark License is issued squarely on the basis of the certificate of origin. All information listed on the License, such as those of the applying organisation and the goods, shall be consistent with the certificate of origin in question. In case that the certificate of origin has been substantially revised, revoked or suspended, the License shall be nullified accordingly.
- The applicant should file application by each consignment or pursuant to the quantification methods specified by the Organiser or Issuing Organisation; and each License should be supported by only one certificate of origin.
- There is no pre-set validity period for an approved License.
B. License Application Procedure
- The Applicant should apply to the Issuing Organisation for a License in regard to the goods for which it has obtained a valid certificate of Hong Kong origin..
- The Applicant should fill in the “Made in Hong Kong Mark License Application Form” and submitted it together with a duplicate copy or photocopy of the certificate of origin to the Issuing Organisation. Applicants should also fill the “Applicant’s Information From” when submitting the first application.
- The Issuing Organisation review and verify the information submitted. Whenever necessary, the Issuing Organisation may require the applicant to produce the original copy of the certificate of origin or make enquiry with other organizations related to the application in question; and it has the right to conduct On-site Assessment, mainly through information validation, interview with the management, inspection of production line, and check on the related documents like production records, invoice, bill of lading, etc.
- The Issuing Organisation decides on the conferment of the License after all the required information has been received and the verification procedure been completed.
- In principle, any amendment to an approved License should be treated as a new application. The Applicant should re-file an application and bear the additional administrative costs accordingly.