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Setting up of Mainland Affairs Liaison Office and expansion of functions of GDETO

The Mainland Affairs Liaison Office (MALO), newly established in the Constitutional Affairs Bureau (CAB), will commence operation on April 1. It will seek to coordinate more effectively efforts to strengthen liaison with the Mainland, and to facilitate exchanges and co-operation with provinces/regions in various aspects.

From now on, the geographical coverage of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong (GDETO) will be expanded to cover five provinces/region, with enhanced functions of providing assistance to Hong Kong residents in distress.

A spokesman for the CAB today (March 31) said, "MALO will facilitate liaison and co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland, and will oversee all HKSAR's Mainland offices, with a view to effectively promoting regional co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

"This will help reinforce and further capitalize the strengths of Hong Kong, in order to promote mutually beneficial Mainland-Hong Kong co-operation and exchanges."

He said, "The CAB organised in this week the visit of Mr Xu Lin, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Development Planning, National Development and Reform Commission, who briefed civil servants on the National 11th Five-year Plan and conducted discussion sessions on its relevance to Hong Kong.

"During his visit, Mr Xu also briefed various groups in the community on the National 11th Five-year Plan. The exchange activities were well received by the public. MALO will continue to organize similar activities in the future," he said.

The major functions of MALO will include:

(a) to formulate overall strategies and direction regarding cooperation between the HKSAR and Mainland, and to promote cooperation between Hong Kong and Mainland provinces/regions, including HKSAR's participation in the Pan-Pearl River Delta regional cooperation, as well as cooperation with Guangdong, Beijing and Shanghai;

(b) to oversee the work of the Office of the Government of HKSAR in Beijing and Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices in Guangdong, Shanghai and Chengdu, to coordinate their general liaison work with Mainland authorities, and to formulate in conjunction with these offices workplans to strengthen relations with the Mainland;

(c) to facilitate collaboration between bureaux/departments and Mainland offices as regards strengthening relations with the Mainland; and

(d) to provide secretariat services for the Hong Kong side regarding regional cooperation initiatives.

The geographical coverage of GDETO will be expanded to include five provinces/region, i.e. Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Jiangxi and Hainan. With deployment of Immigration Officers, the office will also expand its functions to provide practicable assistance to Hong Kong residents in distress or seeking assistance in areas within its coverage.

For Hong Kong residents in the area covered by the GDETO who are in need of assistance, they can contact the Immigration Division of GDETO at (8620) 3891 1220.

Requests for assistance from areas outside GDETO's coverage will continue to be handled by the Beijing Office. Assistance seekers may also approach the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Immigration Department at its 24-hour hotline (852)1868.

Ends/Friday, March 31, 2006