The Forum on the Implementation of "The Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta Region" by Hong Kong and Nine PRD Municipalities (the Forum) was held in Hong Kong today (21 July). The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr Donald Tsang, and the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, attended the Forum. The Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wan Qingliang, and the leaders of the nine Pearl River Delta (PRD) municipalities and their delegations also attended the Forum. Besides, the Chief Secretary and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province co-chaired the 13th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Hong Kong this morning.
The Chief Executive said at his opening remark at the Forum that the HKSAR Government attached great importance to the implementation of the Outline and had always been striving to take forward the implementation with the Guangdong Province.
The Chief Executive said, "The HKSAR Government will continue to join hands with Guangdong to seize the opportunities brought along by the Outline. We will formulate policies to facilitate business and render assistance to the industrial, commercial and professional sectors to develop in the Guangdong Province. We hope to extend the influence of Hong Kong and Guangdong to all provinces in the Pan-PRD Region."
More than 200 participants from the commercial and industrial, financial, innovation and technology, tourism and other relevant sectors attended the forum. The Forum aimed to enable the industries in Hong Kong to have a better understanding of the implementation of the Outline by the nine PRD municipalities. It also offered them the opportunity to have direct exchanges with the governments of Guangdong and the nine municipalities, and to explore possibilities of strengthening co-operation, seizing development opportunities and benefitting from complementary advantages on the foundation of the long-term Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation and the Outline.
The Chief Secretary for Administration said in his closing remark at the Forum that, in the course of developing industrial collaboration, Hong Kong and the PRD Region should aim to enhance the secondary industries, speed up the development of the tertiary industries, and develop the domestic market. He considered that the Forum laid a sound foundation for the two sides to enhance Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation of the next stage and to facilitate the formulation of the framework agreement on Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation.
At the 13th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, the two sides discussed various major co-operation initiatives and prepared for the 12th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, to be co-chaired by the Chief Executive and the Governor of Guangdong Province. Both sides agreed that the 12th Plenary of the Joint Conference should be held next month in Hong Kong. Consensus was also reached on the co-operation items and working plans to be focused on at the plenary session.
Both sides reviewed the progress and results of major co-operation areas since the 12th Working Meeting in January this year, which include the following areas:
Co-operation in major cross-boundary infrastructural projects and boundary control points
The Governments of the HKSAR, Guangdong Province and the Macao SAR have submitted the Feasibility Study Report of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to the Central People's Government for approval. The preliminary design work of the Main Bridge has also commenced in mid March 2009 and is expected to complete before the end of the year. The three Governments are now working on the inter-governmental agreement and the Articles of Association of the management body of the main bridge in consultation with their legal adviser. They are also liaising with their financial adviser and the Bank of China (as the lead bank) on the details of the loan arrangements, including the arrangement of a loan syndicate as well as to finalise the detailed arrangements for borrowing and repayment. When the preliminary design of the bridge is broadly completed, the three Governments will have a better idea of the project costs, and hence would be in a position to finalise the overall financing arrangements and the arrangements for the loan syndicate with their financial adviser and the Bank of China. The three governments are working closely to commence construction of the Bridge within 2009 for completion by 2015/16.
The amendments to the Hong Kong Section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) scheme were gazetted on April 30, 2009. The HKSAR Government is conducting detailed design and planning of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL, and also considering the views of the public so as to optimise the design. The HKSAR Government also plans to start construction of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL in end 2009 for completion in 2015.
The Working Group on Implementation of Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point (BCP) reached agreement on the works schedule of the project in April 2009. The Group will further proceed to liaise on cooperation of the implementation of the works connecting Hong Kong and Shenzhen sides. The investigation and preliminary design for the BCP on Hong Kong side also commenced in April 2009. Our target is to commission the BCP not later than 2018.
We are seeing encouraging results in environmental co-operation between the two sides. Notwithstanding the continuing economic growth in the PRD Region in 2008, the average annual concentration levels of surphur dioxide and respirable suspended particulates in the region decreased by 19 per cent and 11 per cent respectively as compared to the 2007 levels. These reductions were attributable to the implementation of enhanced emission reduction measures and strengthening controls on vehicle emissions in the PRD economic zone. In addition, both sides are making good progress in promoting green economy and business opportunities, cleaner production, green transportation, cross-boundary resource recycling and reuse, and wider use of electric vehicles. The two sides will co-operate closely to further take forward collaboration in the above areas, and continue to actively implement the emission reduction measures under the PRD Regional Air Quality Management Plan. Both sides are committed to, and confident of, achieving the jointly agreed 2010 emission reduction targets.
Co-operation in commerce and trade
In respect of the assistance to Hong Kong processing trade enterprises operating in Guangdong, the HKSAR Government has expressed the wish that Guangdong could implement facilitation measures such as "restructure without stopping production" and "single tax return for multiple domestic sales" arrangements in the whole province as soon as possible, and organise more business matching and exhibition activities as platforms for Hong Kong enterprises to develop the domestic market. The HKSAR Government has also appealed to Guangdong for assistance in early completion of the environmental impact assessment and relevant approval of the Jiangmen Environmental Industrial Park so that the project could serve as a role model of partnership between other municipalities and the trade in developing environmental industrial parks.
The Hong Kong/Guangdong Expert Group on Implementing CEPA Services met on June 24, 2009 in Hong Kong. The two sides agreed to enhance communication and co-operation with a view to ensuring the effective and smooth implementation of the liberalisation measures under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). Regarding co-operation in individual service sectors, the responsible authorities of the two sides jointly organised a seminar in Hong Kong in March this year to deepen the trade's understanding of the implementation details of the measures in the medical service sector. To promote co-operation in the environmental service sector between the two places under the CEPA, the Government organised a mission for the Hong Kong environmental service providers to Zhongshan in May this year and met with the relevant Guangdong authorities. On mutual recognition of electronic signature certificates issued by Hong Kong and Guangdong, certification authorities in Hong Kong and their counterparts in Guangdong will jointly launch pilot projects in electronic certificate/electronic signature applications in order to promote secure cross border e-transactions, and further enhance trade facilitation. On Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation in Informatisation, the focus of the coming year will be placed on the modern information service industry with emphasis on pilot projects in electronic certificate/electronic signature applications between Guangdong and Hong Kong, and to further promote RFID technology research and application.
On financial co-operation, Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to enhance the mutual flow and linkage in respect of financial institutions, financial instruments, capitals, talents, etc., in the spirit of "early and pilot implementation" as well as a proactive and creative attitude. Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to proactively follow up the initiatives on "establishing cross-location sub-branch" in the banking sector and "establishing joint venture securities advisory companies" under Supplement VI to the CEPA, and ensure the smooth and orderly operation of the cross-trade RMB trade settlement pilot programme.
We are delighted to learn that the arrangements for non-Guangdong residents in Shenzhen to apply for Individual Visit Scheme endorsements in Shenzhen to visit Hong Kong will be implemeted at the end of this year. At the same time, we have conveyed to the Guangdong Provincial Government our wish that the measures facilitating Shenzhen residents to visit Hong Kong be extended to the rest of the Guangdong Province. We have also communicated to the Guangdong Provincial Government that we are looking forward to the early implementation by the Mainland authorities of extending the "144-hour visa facilitation" measure to the entire Guangdong Province, so as to facilitate more foreign visitors in Hong Kong to visit Guangdong.
Under Supplement VI to the CEPA, Mainland group tours going to Taiwan can enter and remain in Hong Kong in transit. The Central Government had also announced earlier that Mainland tour groups could travel to Taiwan by taking cruise vessels homeporting here. These measures enable the development of multi-destination travel itineraries between Hong Kong and Taiwan, thereby enriching the travel experiences of Mainland visitors. The inaugural sailing of a cruise vessel carrying Mainland tour groups from Hong Kong to Taiwan will set off on August 2 this year.
Town Planning and Development
Both sides agreed to co-operate closely and initially considered that higher education could be the leading use in the Lok Ma Chau (LMC) Loop, complementing with hi-tech research and development facilities, as well as cultural and creative industries. This would be in line with the objective of the Outline, as well as nurture human resources for the South China Region, enhance the competitiveness of the PRD, and promote the long term development of the two cities. The Hong Kong and Shenzhen Governments launched a comprehensive study on the LMC Loop in June this year, which is expected to be completed in end 2011.
The main findings of the "Planning Study on the Co-ordinated Development of the Greater PRD Townships" were agreed in principle by the joint meeting of the Expert Group on Hong Kong/Guangdong Town Planning and Development and the Expert Group on Macao/Guangdong Town Planning and Development in June this year, which were expected to be promulgated in end August or early September. The three sides had also agreed in principle to the study proposal for a joint study on the action plan for the Bay Area of the Pearl River Estuary, as supported by the Outline. The study would commence soonest possible. Through the joint preparation of an action plan, the three sides would more effectively coordinate the development of the Bay Area as a sustainable and livable region, and promote the development of the PRD as the most vibrant and competitive city conglomerate of the Asia-Pacific Region.
Other co-operation items
Both sides will continue to co-operate and communicate closely on the co-operation items in other areas.
Principal officials of the HKSAR Government accompanying the Chief Secretary for Administration to attend the meeting included the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor KC Chan; the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau; the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng; and the Head of the Central Policy Unit, Professor Lau Siu-kai.
Ends/Tuesday, July 21, 2009
CS attends 13th Working Meeting of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference (1)
Mr Tang (third left) and Mr Wan (third right) jointly preside over the 13th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference.
CE and CS attend Forum on Implementation of "The Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta Region" (2)
The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, attends the Forum on the Implementation of "The Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta Region" by Hong Kong and Nine Pearl River Delta (PRD) Municipalities at Island Shangri-La Hotel, Admiralty, this afternoon (July 21). Mr Tsang (sixth from left), the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang (fourth from left), are pictured with the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wan Qingliang (fifth from left), and Guangdong provincial leaders and leaders of the nine municipalities in the Pearl River Delta.