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Fourth meeting of HK/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Guangdong Provincial Government held the fourth meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Hong Kong today (July 25).

The two delegations were led by the Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Vice-Governor of the Guangdong Province, Mr Ou Guangyuan. The Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Chen Zuo'er, also attended the meeting.

Both sides have reached consensus on the following items:

(1) Co-operation in operation of control points

Both sides have agreed that the operating hours of Lo Wu Control Point should be extended for 30 minutes to 12 midnight on the day before and during the day of Hong Kong Public Holidays. For Chinese New Year, the extension will cover 10 days before and during the New Year period. To improve the environment of Lo Wu Footbridge, passenger lanes there will be widened as soon as possible; jet fans will be installed on the footbridge and efforts will be made to complete the footbridge air-conditioning project by the end of 2002.

Another consensus is that both sides will, through existing communication and liaison channels, deploy manpower resources in a reasonable manner to increase the throughput of various control points.

Both sides agreed that under the major premise of maintaining effective operation of the control point, an ad hoc group should be tasked with studying the feasibility of extending the operating hours of passenger clearance at Lok Ma Chau Control Point and making use of the car port in Huanggang Control Point area in Shenzhen.

In addition, with a view to speeding up traffic flow and further streamlining clearance procedures, both sides agreed to study the feasibility of co-location of immigration and customs facilities at the Shenzhen Western Corridor and other control points.

(2) Development of Nansha

The two sides signed a Letter of Intent for Economic Development considering that the development of Nansha would benefit the commerce and industry sector in Hong Kong and Guangdong as well as help promote the economic development on both sides. It was agreed that an expert group would be set up to discuss the overall direction and substantive plans in their joint efforts to develop Nansha. The areas of co-operation might include the development of new high-technology industries, transport and logistics services, as well as training and exchange of talents.

(3) Study on the feasibility of co-operation between the Hong Kong Airport and Zhuhai Airport

The two sides believed that there was scope for co-operation in the transport of cargo and passenger between the Hong Kong International Airport and airports in the Pearl River Delta. At present, the two sides will study the feasibility of co-operation between the Hong Kong and Zhuhai airports.

(4) Work of environmental protection

Both sides agreed to give priority to improving the air quality. The Environment and Food Bureau of the HKSAR and the Environmental Protection Bureau of the Guangdong Province will follow up on the detailed work. Leaders of both places will continue to pay close attention to this item.

Both sides agreed to expedite the feasibility study of harmonising motor diesel fuel specifications and the completion of the study on air quality in the Pearl River Delta with a view to implementing the relevant measures.

Both sides will continue the exchange and co-operation on matters relating to afforestation and conservation, town planning, marine resources conservation, Pearl River Delta water quality protection and environmental management of Mirs Bay and Deep Bay.

(5) Dongjiang water quality

Guangdong and Hong Kong authorities note the improvement in Dongjiang water quality supplied to Hong Kong since 1999. To maintain and enhance transparency, HKSAR Government has released water quality data for the upper streams taken at Taiyuen Pumping Station from 2001. Both sides agreed to continue exploring the possibility of releasing more Dongjiang water data to the public.

(6) Guangdong/Hong Kong communication networking

Both sides agreed to set up a working group to jointly look into the co-operation and development of e-commerce and e-certificate in the two territories.

At the meeting, both sides also exchanged views on issues of common concerns, such as the speeding up of the construction of the Shenzhen Western Crossing linking Hong Kong and Shenzhen and a pedestrian walkway connecting Huanggang in Shenzhen with Lok Ma Chau, and ways to further facilitate the visits by residents of Guangdong Province to Hong Kong.

The two sides believed that in view of the Mainland's imminent accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Guangdong and Hong Kong were likely to enjoy closer economic and trade relations. At the same time, the flow of passenger and cargo between the two sides would certainly become busier. In order to give full play to the strengths of Guangdong and Hong Kong, the two sides would, through the communication channel provided by the Hong Kong and Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, make concerted efforts to improve border crossing arrangements and expedite co-ordination of the economies of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area. The two sides will fully capitalise on the business opportunities presented by the Mainland's accession to the WTO so as to bring beneficial conditions for the further development of the two sides.

Both sides believed that under the leadership of the Central Government and with the joint efforts by the two places, the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference will continue to achieve new development, furthering new height in their co-operation and contributing to the economic prosperity and social stability of both places.

End/Wednesday, July 25, 2001