Leading a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) delegation, the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, today (April 10) convened the Third Plenary Session of the Hong Kong/Shanghai Economic and Trade Co-operation Conference in Shanghai together with the Mayor of the Shanghai Municipal Government, Mr Yang Xiong, and Shanghai Municipal Government officials.
The Chief Executive said that our country is now at the critical stage of comprehensively deepening reforms and building a new pattern of all-round opening-up, and both Hong Kong and Shanghai are the important windows for the opening up of our country. Co-operation between Hong Kong and Shanghai would create a win-win situation for our country, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
During this visit to Shanghai, the Chief Executive called on the Party Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee, Mr Han Zheng. They exchanged views on the future directions of co-operation between the two places. The Chief Executive and his delegation then visited the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (SHFTZ). They were briefed by the SHFTZ Administration on the operation of the SHFTZ since its opening one and a half years ago, and exchanged views with Hong Kong-invested enterprises which have set up business in the SHFTZ.
The Chief Executive said, "Today's Conference is fruitful. We reached consensus on a total of 27 co-operation initiatives covering 10 areas. The co-operation initiatives are multi-dimensional, multi-layered and multi-directional."
At the Conference, the two sides reached consensus on 10 areas of co-operation, including SHFTZ co-operation; commerce, trade and investment; finance; youth development and social management; civil aviation, maritime transport and logistics; science and technology; urban management; tourism, creative industries, culture and sports; exchange of professionals; and education, medical and health care. Governments of the two places also signed three co-operation agreements, namely, the Agreement on Strengthening Commerce Co-operation, the Agreement on Strengthening Finance Co-operation, and the Agreement for Civil Service Exchange.
Major progress made in various areas of co-operation since the Second Plenary Session in 2012 and directions for future co-operation are set out below.
Since the launch of the SHFTZ in September 2013, Hong Kong has become the most important co-operation partner of the SHFTZ in its development. As at the end of February this year, 1 265 Hong Kong-invested enterprises had set up business in the SHFTZ since its launch, accounting for about 46 per cent of the total number of foreign-capital enterprises set up during this period.
In the years ahead, Hong Kong and Shanghai will be working closely to promote the SHFTZ as one of the important vehicles for co-operation and exchange between the two places. Governments of the two places will conduct seminars and visits in a timely manner to introduce to Hong Kong enterprises the latest policy initiatives relating to the SHFTZ. The two places will also promote cross-border reminbi (RMB) business and strengthen co-operation on financial intermediary services through the SHFTZ.
Commerce, trade and investment
With the staunch support of the Shanghai Municipal Government, the "CEPA green lane" has been opened in commerce systems of all districts and counties in the municipality of Shanghai in the past three years to facilitate Hong Kong enterprises and service suppliers to invest and develop in Shanghai.
Hong Kong and Shanghai will co-operate more closely to implement the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and deepen co-operation in service industries, and will encourage Shanghai enterprises to "go global" by making use of Hong Kong's professional services. The two places will also support the mutual establishment of commercial dispute resolution institutions to provide commercial and trade dispute resolution services for Hong Kong and Shanghai enterprises.
In respect of finance, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, which was formally launched on November 17, 2014, links the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets and marks a new chapter for mutual access between the capital markets of the two sides. Since its launch last year, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect has been operating smoothly, with supervision and risk management work being smooth and anticipated targets reached.
Moreover, financial institutions of the two sides including banks, securities firms, insurance companies, etc., have shown a steady growth in the market of the other side. In respect of co-operation on listing, as at the end of February this year, the number of Shanghai enterprises listed in Hong Kong reached 97. The amount of equity funds raised amounted to over HK$480 billion, with market capitalisation at about HK$1,100 billion. Since 2010, Shanghai and Hong Kong have been holding the Working Meeting of Hong Kong-Shanghai Financial Co-operation regularly. This year's meeting was held yesterday (April 9).
On co-operation in financial services and products, the two sides will jointly promote the cross-border use of RMB and mutual access between the financial markets, and will encourage mutual establishment of financial institutions as well as collaboration in providing a broader range of innovative financial products and services for cross-border investment and fund-raising so as to promote Hong Kong as the most preferred platform for Shanghai enterprises to "go global" in offshore RMB financing.
Youth development and social management
Our country is developing rapidly, enhancing exchanges between youth in the two places will help them broaden their horizons and grasp development opportunities. The Home Affairs Bureau of the HKSAR Government sponsors community organisations to organise Mainland exchange and internship programmes. In the past three years, about 1 000 young people were sponsored to participate in exchange programmes in Shanghai. In 2014, a new dedicated funding scheme was rolled out to sponsor community organisations to organise internship programmes on the Mainland. The funding scheme was well-received. By now, about 250 young people have been sponsored to take part in internship programmes in Shanghai.
Both sides agreed to expand the scope of youth exchange and internship, including continuing the regular organisation of cross-border exchange and study tours for post-secondary finance students to promote interaction and exchanges between the financial talent of the two places. Shanghai and Hong Kong will also strengthen exchanges in social services and management.
Civil aviation, maritime transport and logistics
The industries of the two places enhance exchanges through the Marintec China, the Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference, etc. The Shanghai Hong Kong Airport Management Co. Ltd., which is a joint venture between the Hong Kong Airport Authority and the Shanghai Airport (Group) Co. Ltd., manages the operation and retail business of Shanghai Hongqiao Airport's terminals. Shanghai Hongqiao Airport has been rated by Skytrax the Best Regional Airport in China for three consecutive years since 2012, while terminal 2 was recognised as the first five-star terminal in China in 2014.
In the years ahead, Hong Kong and Shanghai will step up efforts to push forward exchange and co-operation in maritime transport and related service industries. Hong Kong will also strive to give full play to the strengths of our high value-added maritime services and support ocean shipping enterprises in Shanghai to develop their global businesses by coming to Hong Kong and making use of our various commercial maritime services.
Science and technology
Hong Kong and Shanghai have been deepening co-operation in science and technology through the Mainland/Hong Kong Science and Technology Co-operation Committee mechanism. In the years ahead, the two places will deepen exchange and collaboration on science and technology projects. The two places will also promote experience sharing in intellectual property protection and improve the two places' capacity to create, utilise, protect and administer intellectual property so as to promote the development of intellectual property trading.
Shanghai and Hong Kong, both being cosmopolitan, are facing challenges brought about by continuous development. In the years ahead, exchanges in areas such as general urban planning, environmental protection, urban transportation and management, etc., will be strengthened.
Tourism, creative industries, culture and sports
Over the past three years, both sides have been working together to develop the international tourism market. The Hong Kong Tourism Board has promoted the introduction of multi-destination itineraries covering Shanghai and Hong Kong in overseas long-haul markets so as to promote sharing of sources of tourists between the two places. Additionally, since the signing of the Agreement on Cultural Exchange and Co-operation in 2012, there have been frequent exchanges between bands and orchestras, drama groups and arts academies of the two places.
In the years ahead, Shanghai and Hong Kong will continue to encourage co-operation on cultural and creative industries, including establishing an annual implementation plan of the two places, encouraging cultural and arts practitioners to launch activities and exchange programmes, and launching arts festivals in the two places in an innovative co-operation model. Furthermore, the two places will continue to hold the annual Hong Kong and Shanghai Summer Sports Camp for Youth and soccer match between Hong Kong and Shanghai, strengthening co-operation and exchange in sports between the two places.
Exchange of Professionals
In respect of supporting Hong Kong professionals to develop their career in Shanghai, the Shanghai Municipal Government announced in June last year that Hong Kong accounting professionals who have obtained the Chinese Certified Public Accountants qualification can become partners of partnership accounting firms in SHFTZ.
Furthermore, the Governments of the two places renewed the Agreement for Civil Service Exchange at the Conference. The two places will continue to promote exchange of civil servants in a number of areas so as to enable them to understand the latest developments in the other place.
Education, medical and health care
Schools from Shanghai and Hong Kong have been conducting various kinds of professional exchange, including forming partnerships as sister schools. The Hong Kong side will launch a three-year pilot scheme from the 2015/16 school year to provide financial and professional support to sister schools in Hong Kong to further promote exchanges between the sister schools in the two places. In addition, the two places will continue to support tertiary institutions in carrying out academic exchange and studies.
Continuous efforts will also be made to foster co-operation and exchange in areas such as hospital administration, public health, nurturing of Chinese medicine practitioners, study of Chinese medicine, etc. Both sides have also agreed to introduce priority policy to support Hong Kong service suppliers to set up wholly-owned medical institutions in Shanghai.
The Conference was co-chaired by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, and the Mayor of Shanghai Municipal Government, Mr Yang Xiong. HKSAR Government officials attending the Conference included the Financial Secretary, Mr John Tsang; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan; the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam; the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Paul Tang; the Director of Chief Executive's Office, Mr Edward Yau; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Ms Chang King-yiu; the Permanent Sectary for Transport and Housing (Transport), Mr Joseph Lai; and other related officials. The Deputy Director of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Zhou Bo, also attended the Conference as a special guest.
Ends/Friday, April 10, 2015