The Chief Secretary for Administration (CS), Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Ms Zhao Yufang, co-chaired the 19th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Hong Kong today (March 10). Relevant officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and officials of the Guangdong Provincial Government attended the meeting.
Mrs Lam said, "At the 16th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held in September last year, the Chief Executive and the Governor of Guangdong Province, leading delegations from the two sides, reviewed the progress of implementation of the 2013 Work Plan of the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation (Framework Agreement), and agreed on the key directions for co-operation in 2014, which include promoting the early basic achievement of liberalisation of trade in services between Hong Kong and Guangdong, strengthening co-operation in finance, professional services, education, combating smuggling activities and promoting the development of the three developing areas - Nansha, Hengqin and Qianhai. At the working meeting this morning, the two sides signed the detailed 2014 Work Plan for Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation developed on the basis of the above-mentioned consensus, and discussed the implementation strategy."
In respect of individual areas of co-operation, the progress and direction for future co-operation are set out below:
Early basic achievement of liberalisation of trade in services between Hong Kong and Guangdong
In August 2011, the then Vice-Premier of the State Council, Mr Li Keqiang, visited Hong Kong and announced that, in line with the established policy of opening up to Hong Kong first under the "One Country, Two Systems" formula, the Central People's Government will, "before the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan period (i.e. Year 2015), basically achieve, thanks to CEPA (the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Agreement), liberalisation of trade in services between the Mainland and Hong Kong". The Guangdong Province subsequently announced that it would endeavour to achieve the relevant objective one year earlier, in 2014. The Hong Kong business sector is looking forward to obtaining easier access to the Guangdong market in respect of a broad range of services. The two sides agreed to resolve problems arising from the implementation of CEPA in Guangdong, with a view to bringing more substantial economic benefits to both places.
Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, has been facilitating Mainland funds and enterprises to go international, and will continue to serve as the bridgehead to help the Mainland complete the next stage of financial system reform. The two sides agreed to focus on seeking permission for Mainland individual investors to invest directly in overseas markets; introducing cross-border Renminbi (RMB) remittance services for individuals; and obtaining support from the Central People's Government for lowering the entry thresholds applicable to entry of Hong Kong property insurance companies into Guangdong.
The two sides recognised that the global experience of Hong Kong's legal and arbitration service sectors could facilitate and support Guangdong's efforts in enhancing overall competitiveness through economic transformation and upgrading. The Ministry of Justice of the Central People's Government has already granted approval for Guangdong to implement pilot measures to allow Mainland and Hong Kong law firms to set up partnerships; and permitting Guangdong law firms to second Mainland lawyers to work as consultants on Mainland law in representative offices set up by Hong Kong law firms in Guangdong Province. The Guangdong Province is now formulating the relevant implementation details.
Key co-operation areas
In January this year, the HKSAR Government signed a letter of intent on co-operation with the Zhuhai Municipal Government, and set up the "Hong Kong-Zhuhai Co-operation Working Group" under the framework of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference. The Working Group is co-chaired by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs of the HKSAR Government and the Zhuhai Mayor. Together with the Hong Kong-Guangzhou Co-operation Working Group and the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint Task Force on Qianhai Co-operation, the HKSAR Government has completed establishing the network of official communication mechanisms with the relevant Mainland authorities to take forward development of the three new developing areas.
In February this year, the State Council approved the setting up of the "Inter-ministries Joint Conference on the Promotion of the Development of Qianhai, Nansha and Hengqin in Guangdong", led by the National Development and Reform Commission, to better co-ordinate and resolve problems encountered in, and thus, speed up the development of the three places. Through this new platform, the HKSAR Government hoped to convey the views of Hong Kong business sectors to the relevant Mainland authorities effectively, thus promoting the development of the three places, and facilitating Hong Kong business sectors to take advantage of the business opportunities arising from these three places.
In respect of Nansha, the two sides will step-up co-operation in financial and accounting services, including permission for enterprises and financial institutions in Guangzhou to issue RMB bonds in Hong Kong to support the development of Nansha; and allowing Hong Kong accounting professionals to become partners of accounting firms in Nansha, Guangzhou.
For Hengqin, the two sides will enhance support for industries associations and agencies from Hong Kong and Guangdong to practise and set up branch offices there; and encourage Hong Kong and Guangdong enterprises to participate in the development of cultural and creative industries in Hengqin. The respective governments of Guangdong, HKSAR and Macao SAR are pushing ahead the study on cross-boundary transport policies for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), and discussing cross-boundary transport arrangements of HZMB, to maximise its economic benefits.
In respect of Qianhai, this year, the two sides will focus efforts on implementation of the policy to allow Hong Kong professionals to provide engineering consulting, design, surveying, construction, and related services directly in Qianhai.
Encouraging Guangdong enterprises to "go global" through Hong Kong
This year, Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to encourage Guangdong enterprises to establish a foothold in Hong Kong to speed up the "go global" process, and leverage Hong Kong's talents and advantages in the financial and information sectors, to pursue investment as well as merger and acquisition activities in overseas markets.
On environmental protection, the two sides will continue to implement strengthened emission control measures to improve air quality in the Pearl River Delta region; and will conduct a joint study on fine suspended particulates (PM2.5) in the region to provide a scientific basis for the formulation of strategies to further improve regional air quality.
Other major co-operation areas
The 2014 Work Plan covers a wide range of sectors for co-operation. In addition to the above, other areas of co-operation include logistics, conference and exhibition services, technology and innovation, facilitation of cross-boundary clearance, electronic commerce, intellectual property, food safety, contingency management, youth exchange, and education.
2014 Work Plan of the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation
Mrs Lam and Ms Zhao signed the 2014 Work Plan of the Framework Agreement at the meeting.
HKSAR Government officials accompanying the CS in attending the meeting included the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam; the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung; the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man; the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Ms Chang King-yiu; the Under Secretary for the Environment, Ms Christine Loh; the Under Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee; the Under Secretary for Education, Mr Kevin Yeung; the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Godfrey Leung; and the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr James Lau.
Ends/Monday, March 10, 2014
CS attends 19th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference (1)
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Ms Zhao Yufang, co-chaired the 19th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference at Central Government Offices in Tamar this morning (March 10). Photo shows Mrs Lam (right) shaking hands with Ms Zhao (left).
CS attends 19th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference (2)
Mrs Lam (centre) gives opening remarks at the 19th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference.