23The benefit is, however, lower than expected, at least partly because of the difficulties in applying CEPA on the continent. The Chinese authorities stated that they had made the most legislative costs: 26 of the 29 texts that had to be amended for the entry into force of CEPA had been amended and the legislative and regulatory work should have been completed by mid-2004. However, the implementation of the agreement remains problematic: the procedure is complex and opaque, and decisions are subject to the bureaucracy of the central government and then to the arbitrariness of the local authorities. Pressure from Hong Kong authorities and business circles has simplified procedures (e.g. .B. in Shanghai and Guangdong, where only one office has been set up to process CEPA permits), but the number of administrations operating in some sectors is very high. Finally, CEPA is no exception to the rule that a number of irregular barriers in China tend to replace legal barriers that have been removed or eased. In this context, many Hong Kong service providers are sticking to the solutions they have already put in place in many cases to adapt to or circumvent Chinese regulations. Some political analysts thought there was an urgent need to reach an agreement because there were fears that Hong Kong`s economy would collapse without a treaty in the 1980s. Concerns about land ownership in the new leased territories have also contributed to the problem.
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