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Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council issues 2008-10 term report

     The Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council today (February 23) issued a term report on its work for 2008-10.

     On the publication of the 2008-10 term report, the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, said he was pleased to note that the Business Council had put forth very constructive views on major areas relating to Hong Kong / Guangdong co-operation. He said that the participation of the private sector was crucial to the development of Hong Kong and Guangdong, and that he looked forward to the continued efforts and contribution of the Business Council in promoting co-operation between the two places.

     The Chairman of the Business Council, Dr Victor Fung, thanked members for their efforts and support in bringing the work of the last term of the Business Council to a successful completion. He said he believed that the“Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (2008 to 2020)” would bring many development opportunities for Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation.

     Dr Fung said that integration between the services industries of Hong Kong and Guangdong should accelerate and the future would hold unlimited possibilities for Hong Kong if it could leverage its strength in services industries and integrate with the Pearl River Delta to form a strong economic region.

     The Business Council has maintained a constructive dialogue with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Guangdong Sub-Council on issues of mutual concern in the past two years. It has also maintained liaison with the governments of both places and individual municipal cities. The work of the Business Council in the past term is set out below.

Research Study

Study Report in Response to the "Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta"
     The release of the Outline had elevated the development and reform of the Pearl River Delta Region to the level of national strategy. To leverage the opportunities of the "early and pilot implementation" arrangements and put forward pragmatic recommendations in response to the Outline, the Business Council set up an ad hoc group to study the Outline and released a Study Report on the Outline in September 2009.

     Revolving around the two domains of industries and livelihood matters, the Study Report put forward 47 specific policy recommendations under seven headings, summarising the views from representatives of Hong Kong's business sectors. The recommendations cover a total of 14 aspects, including healthcare services, environmental protection, education, transportation, social services, professional services (legal, finance, accounting, maritime and logistics, insurance), small and medium enterprises' entry into the Mainland domestic market and the upgrading and transformation of manufacturing industries, innovation technology, culture and creativity as well as testing and certification.

     In March 2009, the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments initiated the formulation of a "Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation" to set out the direction for substantive and deeper co-operation in the areas of infrastructure, industrial collaboration, environmental protection and education. Both governments also agreed to jointly devise regional co-operation plans on the subjects of "Building a Quality Living Area" and "Infrastructure Construction". On the basis of the above, the Business Council considered that the two governments could jointly submit concrete proposals to the Central Authorities with a view to elevating Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation to the level of national strategy and having relevant proposals incorporated into the National 12th Five-year Plan. Genuine co-operation between the two places under the premise of reciprocity will generate new contributions for the country.

     Apart from conducting the above-mentioned research study, the Business Council also promoted co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong in many areas. The Business Council's four sub-groups have studied a number of topics. They are:

1. Cross-boundary passenger and cargo flow

     In view of the surge of cross-boundary day-trippers in both Hong Kong and Guangdong, the Business Council suggested that the authorities of both places should increase the number of 24-hour border crossings as soon as possible. Moreover, "one-stop" customs clearance services and more Express e-Channels should be provided to enhance clearance efficiency at the border crossings.

2. Joint investment and trade promotion

     The Business Council and the CCPIT Guangdong Sub-Council jointly organised several Hong Kong study missions for privately owned Guangdong enterprises to gain a first-hand understanding of the approval procedures for setting up businesses in Hong Kong, learn about the support offered by local professional bodies and chambers of commerce, and enhance their confidence to invest in the territory. In addition, together with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council organised two Hong Kong/Guangdong economic co-operation seminars which examined the prospects and business opportunities in the current situation in the Pearl River Delta.

3. Services industry development and human resources

     The Business Council was concerned about avenues for attracting non-local talent to study and to work in Hong Kong. It has also completed the evaluation and assessment of its Training Webpage. The Training Webpage will be further improved to provide the staff of enterprises in the Greater Pearl River Delta region with more useful information on professional training programmes.

4. Sustainable development

     The Business Council held a series of meetings on air quality improvement, waste management, water resources management and green alternative energy. The meetings put forth several proposals, e.g. recycle and reuse solid waste, discard the use of sub-standard oil, launch incentives to encourage generation and use of clean energy, etc, for improving air quality in the Greater Pearl River Delta region.

     The Business Council was set up in March 2004 with the aim of advising the Chief Executive of the HKSAR on matters relating to Hong Kong and Guangdong co-operation. It also provides avenues for the private sectors of both places to exchange ideas and views.

     Members of the public can access the website and the term report at (www.cmab.gov.hk/en/issues/council_report_0810.htm).

Ends/Tuesday, February 23, 2010