The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, and the Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), Mr Tam Pak-yuen, co-chaired the Fifth Hong Kong Macao Co-operation High Level Meeting in Macao today (June 12) to review the progress and future direction of co-operation between the two places. Relevant officials from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Macao SAR governments attended the meeting.
In reviewing the achievements made in Hong Kong-Macao co-operation, Mr Tsang said, "Since the establishment of the Hong Kong-Macao liaison officers' mechanism in 2008, co-operation and exchange between the two sides have been increasing both in depth and breadth. Under the mechanism, liaison officers from both sides have been maintaining close exchange in 18 areas and have introduced many measures that are beneficial to the public. More importantly, under the national direction of supporting the development of regional co-operation, Hong Kong and Macao have been working hand in hand to promote regional development and implement projects that have a synergy effect."
As regards the focus of future co-operation, both sides have discussed the topics of environmental protection, taxation arrangements and financial services.
The two governments' efforts in promoting regional environmental protection have been bearing fruit. As emissions from marine vessels have become one of the largest sources of air pollution in the region, representatives from both sides discussed ways to further improve regional air quality. They agreed at the meeting to study the initiative of imposing in parallel a requirement for ocean-going vessels berthing in Hong Kong and Macao waters to switch to low-sulphur fuel with a view to transforming regional waters into areas with advanced technology and quality green ports.
As regards the avoidance of double taxation and the exchange of tax information, representatives from both sides said they hoped to resume discussion on the topic as soon as possible, when the relevant legal frameworks of the two places are ready to enable the discussion to proceed further.
At the meeting, both sides also reviewed the opportunities under the national direction of supporting regional co-operation. Mr Tsang stressed, "One of the significant positionings of Hong Kong-Macao co-operation is to complement each other's strengths and promote co-ordinated development."
Mr Tsang added, "The Outline of the National 12th Five-Year Plan emphasises the national support for enhancing Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre. Under the principle of mutual benefits, we proposed to the Macao SAR Government and the Monetary Authority of Macao at the meeting to capitalise on the financial platform in Hong Kong to make long-term investment so as to maintain and enhance the value of the fiscal reserves of Macao. The Macao side welcomed the proposal and indicated that they will actively consider the proposal."
At the meeting, both sides also exchanged views on co-operation initiatives in other areas, including facilitation measures for cross-boundary passenger flow, heritage conservation, tourism, civil service training, public health and cross-boundary infrastructure, etc. Both sides agreed to continue to maintain close co-operation and communication in different areas and to explore new areas of co-operation.
During their visit to Macao, the Financial Secretary and representatives from the HKSAR Government visited the construction site of the new campus of the University of Macau in Hengqin to learn about Macao's latest development in education and town planning.
HKSAR Government officials attending the High Level Meeting included the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Joshua Law; the Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Ms Anissa Wong; the Deputy Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Miss Salina Yan, and representatives from other bureaux and departments. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority also sent a representative to attend the meeting.
Ends/Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Fifth Hong Kong Macao Co-operation High Level Meeting
The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang (sixth left), and the Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Macao Special Administrative Region, Mr Tam Pak-yuen (sixth right), co-chair the Fifth Hong Kong Macao Co-operation High Level Meeting in Macao today (June 12).