|Ninth Plenary of HK/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held today
Hong Kong and Guangdong had attained concrete progress in co-operation on many fronts, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr Donald Tsang, said today (August 2) after the Ninth Plenary Session of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference.
Mr Tsang said these included major infrastructural projects, air quality improvement, control-point operation, facilitating cross-boundary flow of people and cargo, food safety and prevention of diseases.
Hong Kong and Guangdong also agreed that as the 11th National Five-year Plan commenced this year, the two sides should step up co-operation in various aspects to tie in with the future development of Guangdong, and to grasp the opportunities brought about by such development.
Major infrastructural projects
Important breakthrough has been made on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. On the setting of the boundary crossing facilities (BCFs) and mode of immigration and customs inspections, the parties concerned have agreed to adopt the "separate locations of BCFs" mode and to commission the China Highway Planning and Design Institute to commence as soon as possible the study on the options of the setting of the BCFs. In parallel, the study on the financing arrangements of the bridge will continue. Once the relevant plans have been confirmed and the Central Government has given approval, commencement of the construction of the project will proceed immediately.
Both sides are working towards commissioning the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor before July 1, 2007. They will also strive to complete the evaluation and planning study of the Eastern Corridor (Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai Control Point) as soon as possible.
Air quality improvement
Both sides reconfirm their determination to achieve the agreed emission reduction targets by 2010 to improve regional air quality.
The Special Panel on Pearl River Delta (PRD) Air Quality Management and Monitoring under the Joint Conference has completed an implementation framework for the Emission Trading Pilot Scheme for Thermal Power Plants in the PRD Region. After consultation with the concerned parties, the implementation framework will be presented to prospective participating power plants this year, so that they can identify trading partners and draw up emissions trading agreements.
In addition, both sides will announce in October the first half-yearly report on the monitoring results of the PRD Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network. They will also start a mid-term review of the PRD Regional Air Quality Management Plan before the end of this year to assess the effectiveness of various emission reduction measures as well as the emission trends in the region, and to formulate appropriate strategies and enhanced control measures with a view to achieving the emission reduction targets by 2010, as agreed by Hong Kong and Guangdong.
Each of the two governments will also implement measures respectively. Measures to be or being taken by the Guangdong Province include:
- Guangdong will not plan for construction of new coal-fired or oil-fired power plants in the PRD region;
- liquefied natural gas (LNG) is being introduced for power generation;
- Guangdong will proceed with the retrofitting of flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) systems at existing power plants. It will strive to complete the relevant major works for large-scale generation units by 2008;
- Guangzhou and Shenzhen will speed up the introduction of National III motor vehicle emission standards (on a par with Euro III standards);
- leaded petrol will continue to be banned; and
- a pilot project will be implemented at Shenzhen to install vapour recovery systems at oil depots and petrol-filling stations to further control emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) effectively.
Hong Kong will adopt the following measures:
- introducing Euro IV motor vehicle emission standards for newly registered vehicles in phases in 2006;
- requiring power companies to carry out measures to reduce emissions and to increase the use of natural gas for power generation; and
- continuing to impose caps on the total emissions of power companies and completing the drafting of a new regulation for controlling VOC emissions.
Control point and facilitation of people and cargo flow
To promote aviation development in both places, the co-operation project between the Hong Kong Airport Authority and the Zhuhai Airport has been approved by the relevant authorities of the Central Government. The two sides will proceed with the handover of the management of the Zhuhai Airport shortly.
To tackle the traffic problem of the inland control point in Wangcun of Dongguan, Guangdong will start operating the Liaobu inland control point in Dongguan before the end of 2006 while closing the control point at Huangcun. The new facility in Liaobu will adopt express clearance systems to allow speedier and more effective inspection.
Hong Kong and Guangdong will issue an Autotoll-Unitoll Card to facilitate traffic. Before the end of August, vehicles from Hong Kong can enjoy the convenience of non-cash payment on tollways in Guangdong Province. They may also enjoy electronic non-stop payment if they are equipped with electronic tags.
Moreover, the two sides will open the new control point between KCR Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Futian, Shenzhen in the first half of 2007. The two sides will also continue to pursue new transport services across the boundary, such as the cross-boundary helicopter services and direct cargo freight services.
Food safety and prevention of diseases
Hong Kong and Guangdong have set up notification mechanisms for the prevention of infectious diseases and food safety. The two sides have exchanged information on major issues, including human avian flu cases, genetically modified food, and the crackdown on the import of freshwater fish without health certificates.
In view of the global threat of avian flu and new types of influenza pandemic, the two sides would make good use of the co-operation agreement in contingency measures during public health emergencies to strengthen co-operation in surveillance, alert and response systems. Hong Kong and Guangdong will also explore how to use information technology to trace the source of food, so as to enhance monitoring of food safety through control at source.
Economic and Trade
With the announcement of further liberalisation measures under CEPA in June this year, the two sides will enhance the implementation of the measures. They also plan to organise a seminar in October this year, during which officials of Guangdong Province will be invited to address enquiries from Hong Kong businessmen regarding policies and regulations governing various service industries.
Both sides also agreed to explore organising briefing sessions for different sectors on the co-operation opportunities arising from the 2010 Asian Games to be hosted by Guangzhou.
Attracting Guangdong enterprises to Hong Kong
The two sides will continue to encourage and facilitate Guangdong enterprises to set up businesses in Hong Kong, and to make use of Hong Kong as a platform for accessing the international market. Planned activities include investment promotion seminars in the province, strengthening the investment promotion team in Hong Kong's Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong(GDETO), and providing one-stop service to Guangdong enterprises with interest in investing in Hong Kong through the newly set up "Invest Hong Kong Service Centre" in the GDETO.
Joint promotion overseas
The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Huang Huahua, will lead delegations of the two sides to Paris, France, for a joint promotion on Greater PRD and Pan-PRD regions on November 10. It will be the fourth consecutive year in which the two sides organise similar activities.
Co-operation in technology and informatisation
The Hong Kong/Guangdong Technology Co-operation Funding Scheme will be launched for the third consecutive year. The two sides have earmarked a total of about $800 million to support research and development (R&D) projects. In the past two years, the governments of Guangdong and HKSAR have supported some 200 R&D projects with a total funding of $660 million. The scheme serves to enhance the innovative capabilities of the two places.
The two sides will continue to pursue co-operation projects on education, talent exchange, tourism and culture.
Outcome of co-operation since the eighth plenary session
At the meeting, the Executive Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Tang Bingquan, the Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government, Mr Rafael Hui, and other officials reported on the outcome of co-operation since the eighth plenary session. Details of major achievements on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation in 2005/06 are in the Annex.
The ninth plenary session
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Huang Huahua, co-chaired the ninth plenary session in Guangzhou today. Principal officials of the HKSAR Government attending the meeting include Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui; Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur Li; Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Joseph Wong; Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip; Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao; Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; and Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow.
The Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Zhou Bo, and the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, Ms Guo Li, also attended the meeting as special guests.
The Chairman of the Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council, Dr Victor Fung, attended the relevant section of the meeting and briefed the Joint Conference on the council's collaboration with Guangdong business organisations in the past year and their work plan for the coming year.
Ends/Wednesday, August 2, 2006