CS attended the Ninth Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference

    The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, and the Executive Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Tang Bingquan, co-chaired the Ninth Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Hong Kong this afternoon (July 17).

     The two sides confirmed that the 10th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, co-chaired by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Governor of Guangdong Province, would be held in Hong Kong on August 2, 2007.  Both sides also agreed to set the theme of the Plenary as "broadening and reinforcing the co-operation of Hong Kong and Guangdong", with the main areas of co-operations on economic and trade, livelihood issues, construction of major cross-boundary infrastructural projects and boundary control points, Greater Pearl River Delta and Pan-Pearl River Delta regional co-operation, as well as technology, education and cultural issues.

     The two sides also reviewed the results of the major co-operation areas since the Eighth Working Meeting, including the following:

Co-operation in construction of major cross-boundary infrastructural projects and boundary control points

     The Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor and the Shenzhen Bay Port has been commissioned and opened for public use since July 1, 2007, implementing the new co-location arrangement. The opening of the new control point will help ease the pressures on the existing control points. Both sides have also agreed to make joint effort to commission the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and the Futian Port as soon as possible, the construction of which have already been completed. Besides, the two sides are actively taking forward the planning study on the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai control point which is expected to complete by the end of this year.

Facilitating cross-boundary flow of people and cargo

     Both sides continued to enhance arrangements to facilitate cross-boundary flow of people and cargo. Hong Kong has already completed the necessary legislative amendments and regulatory framework at the end of 2006 to allow cross-boundary ferries departing from Hong Kong Island or Kowloon to stop at Skypier at the Hong Kong International Airport en route to pick up air-to-sea transit passengers destined for Pearl River Delta (PRD) cities. At present, there are already regular ferry services connecting Hong Kong International Airport to Zhongshan are operating on this mode.

Co-operation in environmental protection

     Both sides announced the implementation framework of the Emissions Trading Pilot Scheme for Thermal Power Plants in the PRD Region early this year. The move aimed to facilitate power plants intending to participate in the scheme to identify trading partners and draw up their emissions trading agreements. The two sides have set up the Hong Kong-Guangdong Emissions Trading Management Panel to promote the pilot scheme and to manage issues relating to emissions trading.

     Both sides also released the 2006 annual report on the monitoring results of the PRD Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network in April this year.

     On the protection of the water quality of the PRD Region, the expert review on the water quality computer model for the Pearl River Estuary region jointly developed by Hong Kong and Guangdong was completed in February this year. Experts from Hong Kong and Guangdong have affirmed that the model reaches international high standards and is able to deliver the designed purpose.

Co-operation in safeguarding food safety

     Following the requirements set out in the Framework Agreement on Exchanges and Co-operation in Food Safety for Hong Kong/Guangdong, Hong Kong and Guangdong had over the past years issued notification and responses many times which covered some 20 issues including agricultural products, turbot fish and seasonal food. The mechanism has run well and strengthened liaison between the two sides, ensuring people of the two places are provided with timely information on food safety.

Co-operation in innovation and technology

     The governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to implement the "Guangdong/Hong Kong Technology Co-operation Funding Scheme" in 2007, and are working out the details.  Besides, the two sides are arranging the Research and Development Centres (R&D Centres) in Hong Kong to visit the relevant enterprises and industry towns in the Guangdong Province for exchanges and to explore opportunities of collaboration. The Department of Science and Technology of the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Innovation and Technology Commission, together with the R&D Centre for Textiles and Clothing, visited a number of textile and garment industry towns including Foshan, Dongguan and Zhongshan, and held seminars with the related enterprises and organisations in March this year.

     The HKSAR Government signed a co-operation agreement on "Shenzhen/Hong Kong Innovation Circle" with the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government in May this year to promote and enhance technology collaboration between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The two sides are now working on the concrete co-operation plans.

Co-operation in economy and trade

     Hong Kong and the Mainland signed the Supplement IV to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) on June 29, 2007, under which a number of liberalisation measures will be implemented on a pilot basis in the Guangdong Province covering convention and exhibition service, cultural service and social services. Green lanes will also be established for Hong Kong banks to set up branches in the Guangdong Province. Both sides agreed to join hands in ensuring the smooth implementation of CEPA.

     The two sides also agreed to maintain close liaison on matters in relation to industrial restructuring and to render assistance to enterprises in their upgrading, restructuring and relocation.

Co-operation in tourism

     The two sides agreed to continue to enhance co-operation in promoting the "honest and quality tourism" for Mainland tours coming to Hong Kong, cracking down on the problems of "zero/negative fare packages", promoting the cruise industry, and implementing the arrangement under the Supplement III to the CEPA of allowing Hong Kong travel agents established in the Guangdong Province to operate on pilot basis group tours to Hong Kong and Macao for Guangdong residents.

Financial co-operation

     The two sides jointly organised "Listing in Hong Kong Conference in Guangzhou" and "Listing in Hong Kong Roundtable Meeting in Guangzhou" in April this year, introducing the latest development of the securities market in Hong Kong, listing requirements, pre-listing preparations and other areas that enterprises need to pay attention to before getting listed. The occasions also provided an opportunity for the intermediaries to exchange with the enterprises and to answer their questions regarding listing in Hong Kong.

Other areas of co-operation

     The two sides will continue to maintain close co-operation and communication in other areas, including town planning and development, informatisation, intellectual property rights, culture, sports, education, notification of infectious diseases and strategic studies.

     Key officials attending the meeting were the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow; the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung; the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau; and the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng.

Ends/Tuesday, July 17, 2007