The Chief Secretary for Administration (CS), Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Mayor of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Mr Xu Qin, co-chaired the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting in Shenzhen today (January 30). Relevant officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government as well as officials of the Shenzhen Municipal Government attended the meeting.
Mrs Lam said, "Over the past year, with the concerted efforts of the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments, implementation of the co-operation initiatives has made good progress. The year 2015 is a critical year for comprehensive deepening of the nation's reform, and will bring along more opportunities for co-operation between the two places. I hope that the two sides will continue to deepen co-operation in various areas in the coming year to produce mutual benefits and bring benefit to the people in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen."
In the meeting, both sides reviewed the achievements made in the past year and the directions for co-operation in the coming year, key points include Qianhai development, financial services, youth co-operation, medical services, livelihood issues, cross-boundary infrastructure, development of the Loop area, education and environmental protection, etc. The progresses of co-operation in individual areas as well as the direction of co-operation in future are set out below.
The Shenzhen Municipal Government issued in December last year the Work Plan on Promoting the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Co-operation in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone in Qianhai (Work Plan), putting forward a number of initiatives which provide substantive assistance to Hong Kong people and enterprises in entering Qianhai market. The Inter-ministries Joint Conference on the Promotion of the Development of Qianhai, Nansha and Hengqin in Guangdong (Inter-ministries Joint Conference), as chaired by the National Development and Reform Commission, held its first meeting in November last year in Beijing also proposed many policies relating to Qianhai requiring both sides to push forward the implementation.
Looking ahead to the coming year, the HKSAR Government would push forward the implementation of the views agreed by the Inter-ministries Joint Conference as well as the policies and initiatives set out in the Work Plan which are conducive to Hong Kong people and enterprises' development in Qianhai, including the realisation of the "Ten Thousand, Thousand, Hundred and Ten" development target in year 2020 set by the Qianhai, the offering of national treatment to Hong Kong-invested enterprises registered in Qianhai, further opening up the market for Hong Kong financial institutes to start business in more fields, lowering the entry threshold for Hong Kong non-life insurance companies to set up offices and conduct business in Qianhai under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) framework, supporting qualified insurance institutes from both sides to start two-way cross-boundary Renminbi (RMB) reinsurance businesses and allowing professionals qualified to practise in Hong Kong to provide direct professional services for enterprises and residents in Qianhai upon registration.
As for the provision of professional services, Qianhai Authority has agreed to arrange pilot construction projects allowing Hong Kong accredited construction and engineering related professionals and enterprises to provide services directly in Qianhai. We shall continue to strive for the implementation of the pilot projects as early as possible. As a way forward, we also expect such similar arrangement be extended to the whole municipal city of Shenzhen.
The financial co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen continued to expand last year. As at end-2014, the cross-boundary RMB loans registered in Qianhai amounted to over RMB 82 billion, exceeding the "50 billion newly registered volume" set by the Shenzhen Authorities last year. Up to end of last year, a total of 11 banks with Hong Kong capital set up over 50 sub-branches and subsidiaries in Shenzhen.
In the aspect of infrastructure facilities for cross-boundary RMB businesses, with the joint effort of the concerned authorities of both sides, the operating hours of the system linkage between the RMB Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system in Hong Kong and the Shenzhen Financial Settlement System, has been further extended to 5am of the following day, to cover more auction sessions outside Hong Kong, and thus, provide a more comprehensive cross-boundary clearance services for both Hong Kong and non-Hong Kong sectors.
In the coming year, both sides would continue to push forward the Hong Kong-Shenzhen financial co-operation under the "National 12th Five-Year Plan" and the newly signed "Guangdong CEPA". In the area of offshore RMB businesses, the HKSAR Government hopes to continue to promote and expand the cross-boundary RMB businesses, and to jointly pursue the Central Government to offer more market liberalisation measures, to facilitate more Hong Kong financial institutes to start a variety of services in Shenzhen, with a view to contributing to the further reform and opening up for the Mainland financial system together.
Hong Kong and Shenzhen has agreed to include youth co-operation as a key co-operation area between the two places in the coming year. Both sides will focus on taking forward co-operation in three aspects, namely youth exchange, internship and entrepreneurship.
On youth exchange and internship, in response to the 3 500 places set aside by Shenzhen for the expansion of youth exchange, the Home Affairs Bureau of the HKSAR Government will liaise and work with the relevant departments in the Shenzhen Municipal Government to implement six projects including the University Students Summer Internship Programme, Voluntary Services Exchange, Youth Entrepreneurship Training Programme, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Feng Shan Ji, University Students Joint City Research Projects and Visit to Qianhai. Both sides will actively consider the possibility of carrying out any new projects in the future.
On youth entrepreneurship, the HKSAR Government will actively complement the Shenzhen side to implement the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub. Through provision of funding, venue, programmes, talents and lodging, the project allows the young people possessing innovative ideas in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and the global world to start their businesses in the Hub.
Medical services co-operation
Both sides reviewed the progress of the medical co-operation projects for the two places. The HKSAR Government is liaising with the University of Hong Kong to launch a pilot scheme to allow Hong Kong elderly people to use the Elderly Health Care Voucher to pay for services provided by the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital. The scheme has already been approved by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Shenzhen Municipality, and the HKSAR Government is now working on the detailed arrangements of the scheme which is expected to be formally launched in mid-2015.
The HKSAR Government launched the Pilot Residential Care Services Scheme in Guangdong in end-June last year to purchase places from two residential care homes for the elderly in Yantian, Shenzhen and Zhaoqing, Guangdong operated by non-government organisations of Hong Kong for elderly persons on the waiting list for subsidised residential care places to choose to live in. So far, a total of 13 elderly persons have been admitted to the two residential care homes, among them, eight were admitted to the residential care home in Yantian, Shenzhen.
Besides, the HKSAR Government launched the Guangdong Scheme in mid-2013. Up to last year end, about 17 500 elderly residing in Guangdong were provided the $1,180 monthly Old Age Allowance, without coming back to Hong Kong annually, including about 5 600 Hong Kong elderly residing in Shenzhen.
Construction works on the Hong Kong side for site formation and the connecting road of the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai (LT/HYW) Boundary Control Point (BCP) have commenced in phases. As the construction cost is higher than the original estimate, we are seeking approval from the Legislative Council (LegCo) for an increase in the approved project estimate. For the construction of the BCP buildings and the associated facilities on the Hong Kong side, we are also seeking funding approval from the LegCo with a view to commencing construction in the second quarter of this year. Both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen sides will continue to press ahead with the construction works according to their respective programme and will strive for completion of the LT/HYW BCP in 2018.
Development of the Loop area
With concerted efforts of both sides and after consulting the residents of the two places, planning study on the Loop area has been completed. At present, the HKSAR Government aims to complete the preparation of statutory plan within this year.
Co-operation on education
After the last Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting, Shenzhen and Hong Kong Education Bureaux have extended the eligibility of student admission of the schools for Hong Kong children and the schools operating classes for Hong Kong children to include Type II children, allowing more Hong Kong students to choose to stay in Shenzhen for education. The number of minban schools offering Hong Kong curriculum to Hong Kong students has increased from six in the last school year to nine in the current school year, including two schools for children born in Hong Kong. The number of students has been increased by around 60 per cent from 1 400 to 2 200. Recently, two more minban schools have been approved to operate classes for Hong Kong students in the next school year, providing around 180 to 210 additional places.
In addition, to facilitate Hong Kong students to transit to the education system of Hong Kong smoothly, Hong Kong Education Bureau has arranged for the schools for Hong Kong children and the minban schools operating classes for Hong Kong students in Shenzhen to match with Hong Kong primary and secondary schools as sister schools. Both sides would continue to enhance the professional exchange and collaboration between teachers as well as strengthening the support to teachers.
In response to the demand from cross-boundary students (CBS) for cross-boundary school coaches (CBSC) and with the support and concerted efforts of the Guangdong Port Administration Office, Shenzhen Port Administration Office and relevant port authorities, the number of special quota for CBSC has increased to 170 in this school year, i.e. 2014/15 school year, representing a 20 per cent increase over last year. Hong Kong and the relevant Mainland authorities will continue to discuss and examine the facilitating measures for CBS travelling daily across the boundary for the coming years.
Co-operation on environmental protection
The Chief Executive announced in his 2015 Policy Address to allocate $150 million to extend the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme for five years till 2020 to continue to fund the Hong Kong-owned factories in the Mainland (including those in Shenzhen) to adopt cleaner production technologies and strengthen promotional activities so as to encourage more factories to carry out cleaner production.
Apart from the above, the two sides have also made steady progress in other areas of co-operation, such as trade investment promotion, creative industries, tourism, culture, etc.
Officials accompanying the CS in attending the meeting included the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man; the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Ms Chang King-yiu; the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Godfrey Leung and the Under Secretary for Development, Mr Eric Ma.
Ends/Friday, January 30, 2015
CS and Mayor of Shenzhen co-chair Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting (1)
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam (sixth right), and the Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr Xu Qin (sixth left), co-chair the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting at Wuzhou Guest House in Shenzhen this afternoon (January 30).
CS and Mayor of Shenzhen co-chair Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting (2)
Mrs Lam (right) and Mr Xu (left) shake hands before the meeting.
CS and Mayor of Shenzhen co-chair Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting (3)
Mrs Lam (front row, centre), Mr Xu (front row, fourth right) and other participants in a group photo after the meeting.
CS and Mayor of Shenzhen co-chair Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting (4)
Mrs Lam (left) and Mr Xu (right) hold a press conference after the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting.