22nd Working Meeting of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held in Guangzhou (with photos)
The Chief Secretary for Administration (CS), Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr He Zhongyou, co-chaired the 22nd Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Guangzhou this afternoon (February 23). Relevant officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Guangdong Provincial Government attended the meeting.
The CS said at the meeting, "On the basis of the consensus reached at the 19th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held in September last year, both sides have formulated the 2017 Work Plan, which serves as an action agenda for Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation this year. The Work Plan covers 77 key co-operation items, of which many are mapped out in accordance with the directions set out in the National 13th Five-Year Plan. Both sides will actively push forward the respective items in the Work Plan."
In respect of individual areas of co-operation, the progress and direction for future co-operation are set out below.
Belt and Road Initiative
The Belt and Road Initiative is a key medium- and long-term development initiative of our country in the future. It also provides impetus for Hong Kong's future social and economic development. The two sides have included in this year's Work Plan a number of items covering the areas of financial services, trade and logistics, professional services and tourism to implement the co-operation direction and priorities set out in the "Letter of Intent on Guangdong-Hong Kong Co-operation in Participating in the Belt and Road Initiative" signed at the Joint Conference last September.
On financial services, the HKSAR Government encourages Guangdong enterprises to make full use of Hong Kong as an international financial centre to invest in the infrastructure and other key development projects in the Belt and Road countries, and to set up corporate treasury centres in Hong Kong. On the trade and logistics front, both Guangdong and Hong Kong will jointly organise more trade and investment promotion activities in countries and regions along the Belt and Road to promote trade and investment with those places.
On professional services, the HKSAR Government encourages Guangdong enterprises to make good use of Hong Kong's advantage as a leading international legal and dispute resolution services centre in the Asia-Pacific region and choose Hong Kong as a neutral venue for resolving investment and commercial disputes arising from Belt and Road projects. In addition, the HKSAR Government proposes that Guangdong enterprises can work together with the Hong Kong construction and engineering sector to employ Hong Kong architectural and engineering-related professionals and enterprises to participate in the planning, construction and management of the projects, as well as to provide consultancy services when they launch construction projects in the Belt and Road countries. In November last year, the HKSAR Government launched a HK$200 million Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme to support the professional services sector in Hong Kong to enhance exchanges, promotion and co-operation with Belt and Road countries and the Mainland; the first batch of projects under the Scheme are expected to commence in mid-2017. On tourism, Guangdong and Hong Kong will proactively establish co-operation platforms with neighbouring regions to further promote the development of multi-destination itineraries.
Innovation and Technology
Innovation and technology has been one of the important co-operation areas between Guangdong and Hong Kong. In January this year, the HKSAR Government and the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government signed the "Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Developing the Lok Ma Chau Loop by Hong Kong and Shenzhen", agreeing to jointly develop the Lok Ma Chau Loop into a Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park to attract Hong Kong, Shenzhen and other overseas and Mainland top enterprises, research institutes and tertiary education institutions. This will turn a new page in the development of innovation and technology in both places. Moreover, since the inception of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Co-operation Funding Scheme in 2004 till January this year, more than 240 projects have been approved under the Scheme. Of these projects, over 30 per cent are co-funded by relevant government authorities in Guangdong Province or Shenzhen and the Innovation and Technology Fund, with the funding approved under the Innovation and Technology Fund amounting to about HK$200 million.
On youth co-operation, the Guangdong Provincial Government will make arrangements this year for the provision of some 990 internship places in enterprises, agencies and organisations in Guangdong Province for young people in Hong Kong under the Funding Scheme for Youth Internship in the Mainland. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, the HKSAR Government will launch the Sichuan Wolong Natural Reserve Internship Programme and the Beijing Palace Museum Conservation Internship Programme this summer to enable young people from Guangdong and Hong Kong to undertake internship at the Sichuan Wolong giant panda conservation base and the Beijing Palace Museum together. In addition, the Youth Development Fund was launched by the HKSAR Government in July last year and the list of successful applicant organisations will be released within this month with funding support of $24 million. It is a characteristic of the Fund that no restriction would be imposed on the places for starting business. Young people who plan to start their own business on the Mainland would also be eligible for funding support. The HKSAR Government will work with Guangdong Province to strengthen youth exchange and co-operation, as well as encourage young people of both places to jointly establish business start-ups.
Financial Co-operation and CEPA
On deepening co-operation between the financial and capital markets of the two places, the HKSAR Government encourages more eligible Guangdong enterprises to list and issue Renminbi bonds in Hong Kong. Both sides will also work together to enhance the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect and promote the development of cross-boundary investment activities, such as the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme, the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme, the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors scheme and mutual recognition of funds, to enhance connectivity between the capital markets of the two places.
On mutual establishment of financial institutions, both Guangdong and Hong Kong will strive to seek further relaxation of the entry requirements for Hong Kong financial institutions engaged in securities activities to access the Guangdong market and to support the establishment of more full-licensed joint venture securities companies by Hong Kong financial institutions in Guangdong Province under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government will strive to seek suitable relaxation of Guangdong market entry requirements for Hong Kong insurance companies.
Co-operation in Professional Services
Both sides will continue to strengthen co-operation in professional services in respect of the legal, accounting, and construction and engineering sectors this year. On legal services, a total of 10 associations in the form of partnership between Hong Kong and Mainland law firms have been approved to set up in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. In the coming year, both sides will jointly explore ways to further improve measures on forming associations in the form of partnership and employment of Hong Kong solicitors and barristers as legal consultants by Mainland law firms under the Agreement on Trade in Services signed under the framework of CEPA. On accounting services, the measure allowing eligible Hong Kong residents to become partners of partnership accounting firms nationwide under the Agreement on Trade in Services came into effect in June last year. In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will strive to seek further relaxation of restrictions for eligible Hong Kong residents who have obtained the Chinese Certified Public Accountants qualification to become partners of accounting firms on the Mainland. As for construction and related engineering services, a development project in Qianhai has been identified as a pilot project to adopt the Hong Kong project management system and admit Hong Kong professionals. Qianhai has also compiled a list of Hong Kong professional services providers and put in place a registration system for Hong Kong professionals. In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will seek to increase the number of pilot projects in Qianhai and extend the liberalisation measures in Qianhai to Nansha and Hengqin.
Co-operation in Environmental Protection
On environmental protection, the Hong Kong-Guangdong Marine Environmental Management Special Panel under the leadership of the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR Government and the Environmental Protection Department of Guangdong Province was formally set up last year to study marine environmental issues in Guangdong and Hong Kong and formulate response strategies together. The HKSAR Government plans to publish the findings of the "Mid-term review study on air pollutant emission reduction targets for 2015 and 2020" in the first half of this year and complete the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Joint Regional PM2.5 Study by the end of this year. Such co-operation and study can help improve the air quality of the Pearl River Delta region and allow the two places to formulate air quality management policy.
Co-operation in Key Regions
The Dedicated Chapter of Hong Kong and Macao in the National 13th Five-Year Plan expresses support in expediting development of co-operation platforms among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, such as Qianhai, Nansha and Hengqin, as well as promoting the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Big Bay Area and major inter-provincial/regional co-operation platforms. On co-operation in Qianhai, the HKSAR Government encourages Qianhai to introduce more preferential policies and measures for Hong Kong people and enterprises, and will make good use of the existing co-operation mechanism and strengthen co-operation with the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government to push forward the realisation of the "Ten Thousand, Thousand, Hundred and Ten" development target. Nansha's development potential is huge. The HKSAR Government will, on the principle of achieving mutual benefits through active participation and joint planning, actively participate in pushing forward development in Nansha and share experiences and provide suggestions for Guangdong's planning of the "Guangdong-Hong Kong In-depth Co-operation Zone" in Nansha. The HKSAR Government will continue to work closely with the Guangdong Provincial Government to explore ways to push forward the establishment of a high-end services zone, an innovation and technology industry zone, and more. As for Hengqin, the HKSAR Government urges for further expansion of liberalisation measures for Hong Kong and Macao services sectors in Hengqin, further liberalisation of measures in the negative list for financial services industry in the Hengqin area of the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone, and the stepping up of efforts by Hengqin to open up its market to the Hong Kong and Macao services sector.
Apart from the three free trade areas, the HKSAR Government will, under the principle of "one country, two systems" as well as the principles of complementarity and mutual benefits, work with the Guangdong Provincial Government to follow up with the research and preparation work for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Big Bay Area Development Plan. Taking advantage of Hong Kong's unique functions and positioning as defined in the National 13th Five-Year Plan, the HKSAR Government looks forward to the establishment of a world-class metropolitan cluster through deepening co-operation with Guangdong and Macao.
Co-operation in Education and Social Security and Services
Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao will continue to push forward the building up of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Alliance to synergise and deepen co-operation among higher education institutions of the three places. Guangdong and Hong Kong will also continue to actively promote the Guangdong-Hong Kong Sister School Scheme, training and exchange programmes for teachers and Mainland exchange programmes for primary and secondary students. On social security and services, Hong Kong will continue to implement various schemes to facilitate senior citizens' retirement on the Mainland. These schemes include the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme, the Guangdong Scheme and the Pilot Residential Care Services Scheme in Guangdong.
Co-operation in Tourism
On co-operation in tourism, the HKSAR Government will maintain close liaison with the respective Mainland authorities to combat the problems arising from zero/negative tour fares and coerced shopping, etc. The HKSAR Government will enhance communication and co-operation with the tourism authorities on the Mainland (including Guangdong Province) on measures to strengthen regulation of Mainland inbound tour groups with a view to maintaining the order of the tourism market and safeguarding the safety and interests of tourists.
Guangdong and Hong Kong have agreed to press ahead on a number of key cross-boundary infrastructure projects. For the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, governments of the three places are deliberating on details of the cross-boundary transport arrangements. In addition, the construction of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) is now reaching the final stage. Integrated testing and commissioning by Hong Kong and Guangdong will commence in mid-2017 to ensure that the Hong Kong section of the XRL can be commissioned in the third quarter of 2018 as scheduled.
Other Key Co-operation Areas
Other key co-operation items in the 2017 Work Plan cover areas including logistics, transport, conventions and exhibitions, cultural and creative industries, trade promotion, protection of intellectual property, cultural exchange, medical and health, food safety and inspection and quarantine.
2017 Work Plan of the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation
Mr Cheung and Mr He signed the 2017 Work Plan of the Framework Agreement at the meeting.
HKSAR Government officials attending the meeting included 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 Home Affairs, Ms Florence Hui; the Under Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan; the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Godfrey Leung; the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr James Lau; and the Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Dr David Chung.
Ends/Monday, February 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:43
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, led a delegation to attend the 22nd Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Guangzhou this afternoon (February 23). Photo shows Mr Cheung (left) shaking hands with the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr He Zhongyou.
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, led a delegation to attend the 22nd Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Guangzhou this afternoon (February 23). Photo shows Mr Cheung and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr He Zhongyou, co-chairing the joint conference.