|Develop new frontiers in HK/Guangdong co-operation
The HKSAR Chief Executive Mr Tung Chee Hwa and Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Huang Huahua, today (August 5) presided over the Sixth Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held in Hong Kong. The meeting is an important exchange between the two governments after the conclusion of the Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). Each side was represented by a strong delegation. The Deputy Minister of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Zhou Bo, also attended the meeting.
New framework and operation mechanism of the Joint Conference
The two sides agreed to set up a new framework and operation mechanism. Starting from the Sixth Plenary of the Joint Conference, the meeting is to be chaired by the heads of the two administrations. Each side will respectively set up a "HK/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference Liaison Office". The Executive Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Tang Bingquan, and the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, will be responsible for steering and taking forward the co-operation items. It has been agreed that existing expert groups and new groups established under the Sixth Plenary will be consolidated into 15 groups. They will undertake studies, follow up and implement various co-operation items endorsed at the Joint Conference. They will also continue to take forward other co-operation items, including Tonggu Waterway, co-operation in sustainable development and environmental protection, information exchanges, and co-operation in culture and sports.
The Guangdong side will set up a "Guangdong-Hong Kong Strategic Development Coordination Group", which will be led by the Development Planning Commission and the Development and Research Centre of Guangdong Province. The group will conduct research studies into a wide range of themes which are crucial for Guangdong-Hong Kong economic development. Results of the studies will be considered and coordinated by the liaison office before submission to the Joint Conference for decision.
Under the new framework of the Joint Conference, the Hong Kong side will set up a new research group to be headed by the Central Policy Unit. The research group will conduct comprehensive and in-depth researches on subjects relating to Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation.
Both sides also agreed to set up a business committee to facilitate discussion and exchanges between Hong Kong and Guangdong enterprises, trades and business associations. In support of the Government's effort in promoting economic and trade co-operation between the two places, trade bodies of the two places may from time to time organize seminars, exhibitions and meetings to facilitate information exchanges and to build up communication networks. The business committee of the Guangdong side will be led by the Guangdong International Chamber of Commerce. The business committee of the Hong Kong side will include representatives of major business associations, professional bodies, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Productivity Council, as well as business leaders and representatives of the relevant Government departments.
Overall direction of HK/Guangdong co-operation
During the meeting, both sides reached consensus on the direction for further strengthening co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong, the guiding principles of which are "forward-looking, comprehensive, pragmatic and mutually beneficial", and that co-operation will leverage on the opportunities arising from CEPA. The objective is to develop the greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, which covers both Guangdong and Hong Kong, into one of the world's most vibrant economic hubs within the next two decades. Each side will capitalise on and complement each other with its own strengths, and with a view to achieving development to mutual benefits. Guangdong will focus on developing its manufacturing industries and building up a sound production infrastructure with a view to developing itself into one of the world's most important manufacturing bases. Hong Kong will focus on developing itself into one of the world's most important services centres excelling in financial, business, transportation, logistics and high value-added services.
On 12 recent co-operation items
At the meeting, the two sides had thorough discussion on the 12 co-operation items initiated recently by the two governments.
Both sides agreed to further strengthen co-operation in trade in services and investment between Guangdong and Hong Kong; to underline the unique position of Hong Kong as an international services hub for trade, financial, transportation and logistics, to develop details in implementing the co-operation initiatives in the 17 service sectors under CEPA, and to provide facilitation in the registration by Hong Kong permanent residents with Chinese citizenship to operate individually-owned enterprises in Guangdong. In respect of logistics services, Hong Kong companies could apply to the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation of Guangdong Province for the setting up of wholly-owned logistics companies. Upon approval by the Ministry of Commerce, the concerned companies could register with the Commerce and Industry Administration Board of Guangdong Province. The registered capital requirement for setting up freight forwarding enterprises in Guangdong would be lowered to RMB 5 million for maritime freight forwarding, RMB 3 million for air freight forwarding and RMB 2 million for road freight forwarding. The minimum registered capital requirement for setting up storage and warehousing companies would be RMB 500,000. In addition, Hong Kong permanent residents with Chinese citizenship who set up individually-owned enterprises in Guangdong will be subject to the same treatment as Guangdong residents in terms of registration procedures. Hong Kong enterprises could apply directly to the relevant departments of foreign trade and economic co-operation at the municipal level. Approval would be granted within five working days provided that all necessary information is submitted. To simplify the registration process, the relevant authorities would set up designated counters to facilitate Hong Kong companies and residents in submitting applications for registration, and to provide advisory services.
Both sides will actively take forward the major cross-boundary infrastructural projects. Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have decided to set up a Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Advance Work Coordination Group (Coordination Group). Hong Kong will be the convenor of the Coordination Group, and Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau will each appoint three representatives as members of the Coordination Group to coordinate and take forward the advance work for the construction of the Bridge, including studies on economic benefits, alignment, environmental protection and hydrology. The completed report will be submitted to the National Development and Reform Commission to apply for the creation of the project item.
Both sides agreed to continue to discuss the rail technology, routing and location of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. The two sides also agreed to continue with the construction of Shenzhen Western Corridor and Shenzhen Tonggu Waterway, as well as to strengthen co-operation among the airports in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Hong Kong for better coordination of airports in the PRD region.
Co-operation in tourism between Guangdong and Hong Kong will be strengthened. A pilot scheme to process the applications for the "individual visit" endorsement has been launched in four cities - Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Foshan since July 28, 2003 to further promote tourism and economic development in Hong Kong. Both sides agreed to handle the processing of applications, boundary control point throughput and the deployment of manpower properly to ensure smooth implementation of the scheme. On the basis of the success of the pilot scheme in the four cities mentioned above, the scheme would be extended to cover Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai on August 20. Best endeavours will be made for the scheme to be fully extended to the entire Guangdong Province by January 1, 2004.
At today's meeting, both sides discussed the co-operation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao on the prevention of infectious disease. Both sides agreed to simplify the procedure for notification of infectious diseases, and reached consensus on how to enhance the information exchange on unexpected or new infectious diseases. When such situation arises, the Health Department of Guangdong Province will provide Hong Kong with the information that it submits to the Ministry of Health. The Health Department of the HKSAR will also notify the Health Department of Guangdong Province as early as possible. Both sides will convene meeting to discuss strategies and measures to tackle the disease as and when necessary.
At the meeting, the two sides also had detailed discussion on the following: co-operation between the control points of Guangdong and Hong Kong, protection of intellectual property rights, innovation and technology, education, expansion of the hinterland for economic co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong, fostering investment from Hong Kong to the rural areas in Guangdong as well as the eastern and western regions, promotion of the greater PRD concept, and organization of seminar on economic and trade co-operation. The two sides agreed to set up expert groups to follow up and implement these items.
Both sides believed that the foundation of co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong was solid and the potential, business opportunities and future for further cooperation was enormous and bright. They also believed that through better coordination of resources, maximizing the strengths and rationalinising the roles of each side, the economic development of the greater PRD region will grow further. Both sides were also confident that under the new framework and operation mechanism of the Joint Conference, they could achieve wider and deepened co-operation, create a broader horizon for the mutual growth of the two places, and help develop the Guangdong/Hong Kong region as the gateway between the mainland and international markets.
Attached are (I) Fifteen Expert Groups under the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference and (II) Twelve Co-operation Items.
(I) Fifteen Expert Groups under the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference
1. expert group on implementing CEPA.
2. expert group on the co-operation in control points.
3. expert group on coordinating Hong Kong/Guangdong cross boundary major infrastructural projects.
4. expert group on promoting "Greater Pearl River Delta".
5. expert group on tourism.
6. expert group on exchange and notification mechanism on infectious diseases.
7. expert group on co-operation in innovation and technology.
8. expert group on co-operation in education.
9. expert group on the protection of intellectual property rights.
10. expert group on expanding the Hong Kong/Guangdong economic co-operation hinterland.
11. expert group on the holding of the Hong Kong/Guangdong economic co-operation seminar.
12. expert group on co-operation in culture and sports.
13. expert group on information exchange.
14. Tonngu Waterway expert group.
15. expert group on sustainable development and environmental protection.
(II) Twelve Co-operation Items
1. strengthening co-operation in trade and services
2. strengthening co-operation in control points.
3. coordinating Hong Kong/Guangdong cross boundary major infrastructural projects.
4. promoting "Greater Pearl River Delta"
5. strengthening co-operation in tourism
6. establishing an exchange and notification mechanism between Hong Kong and Guangdong on infectious diseases.
7. promoting co-operation in innovation and technology.
8. strengthening co-operation in education.
9. promoting co-operation in the protection of intellectual property rights.
10. expanding the Hong Kong/Guangdong economic co-operation hinterland.
11. preparing for the holding of the Hong Kong/Guangdong economic co-operation seminar.
12. strengthening co-operation in culture and sports.
End/Tuesday, August 5, 2003