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Transcript of remarks at press conference on Co-operation Arrangement and Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference

     The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam; the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung; the Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee; the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan; and the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Patrick Nip, today (November 18) held a press conference on the Co-operation Arrangement between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Establishment of the Port at the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link for Implementing Co-location Arrangement as well as the 20th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference. Below is the transcript of remarks at the press conference.
Reporter: Mrs Lam, I just want to follow up on the part about the Government not being able to provide the detailed provisions of the agreement that you signed today. In that sense, I understand that you said that you have to respect the Mainland system, but then what if critics or other legal experts here have concerns or, like, is there any room for them to suggest changes to those provisions after the National People's Congress Standing Committee approved the plan? And, also for Mr Frank Chan, Secretary Chan, you mentioned that actually the Government's on a tight schedule, now that you have to iron out the details on the operation of the terminus. Does the Government actually already have a preliminary plan on how are you going to conduct safety checks, how are you going to maintain, like, the sharing of revenue and things like that, especially on maintenance and safety checks?
Chief Executive: Well, first of all, let me correct what you have said. You said that we have not provided the detailed provisions of the Co-operation Arrangement. That is not true. I said on several occasions what we have provided through the government press release issued earlier today has actually contained very detailed provisions as set out in the Co-operation Arrangement. What we have not done, because we need to respect the legal procedures in the Mainland, is we have not actually released the document, but the content, the detailed provisions in that document called Co-operation Arrangement, have been disclosed via the government press release.
     I have mentioned that in this "Three-step Process", after the National People's Congress Standing Committee has made a decision to approve and endorse the Co-operation Arrangement, the subject will come back to Hong Kong for local legislation. Until and unless there is local legislation enacted, we will not be able to implement the co-location arrangement. So I hope that answers your question. The room to change is, if we don't enact the local legislation, the National People's Congress Standing Committee’s decision will not be able to be put into effect in the Hong Kong terminus of the high-speed rail.
Secretary for Transport and Housing: In fact, we are indeed in a hurry because there are many things we need to settle with our Mainland counterparts. For example, the sharing of fare revenue that you have just mentioned. When we sell a ticket in Hong Kong, if the train goes from Hong Kong to other places in the Mainland, part of the routing is in the Mainland, so the cost of maintenance, the cost of operation will also be borne by the counterparts in the Mainland. We need to work out a kind of fare box sharing between Hong Kong and the Mainland parties. And also how about the pricing? When somebody buys a ticket in the Mainland and also buys a ticket in Hong Kong, they should be equal. So we need to come to term as to how much you can charge for a particular journey from A to B or from B to A. How about the kind of currency we are using: should it be Hong Kong dollar or should it be Renminbi? And how is it going to be converted? And also the testing and standard, as well as the maintenance. (It is) because in the maintenance of nine trains; we have altogether nine trains and there will be more trains coming to Hong Kong; would it be economical for us to maintain the trains ourselves, to equip all the testing equipment and all the spare parts? Or whether we can work together with the Mainland counterparts so that some of the works are being done by us and some of the heavy duty things are being done by them. So these are the kind of nitty-gritty that we need to settle before we can put the entire system into operation. Indeed, we are running in a hurry to settle all these things. Of course, we are now in the process of negotiating with the Mainland counterparts. As soon as we have settled, then we will come up and let the public know.
Reporter: Any visibility on when such decisions will be out for the public?
Secretary for Transport and Housing: I don’t have a crystal ball. We are working very hard to achieve this.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Saturday, November 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:54