LCQ17: HK Government attaches much importance to Pan-PRD co-operation
Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (January 5):
Regarding Hong Kong's economic co-operation and integration with the Mainland, will the Government inform this Council of:
(a) the progress of the issues which were raised in the Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Co-operation and Development Forum held in June last year;
(b) the plans regarding the co-operation and development of the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region in the coming year; and
(c) the efforts and progress made by the Government in boosting Hong Kong's role in the Pearl River Delta, which is a target set in the 2004 Policy Agenda?
(a) Since the first "Pan-PRD Regional Co-operation and Development Forum" and the signing of the "Pan-PRD Regional Co-operation Framework Agreement" by the Pan-PRD ("9+2") governments in June 2004, progress has been made on a number of fronts in taking forward Pan-PRD regional co-operation.
The first liaison meeting among Secretaries-General of the "9+2" governments was held in Sichuan Province in July 2004, at which representatives reached broad consensus on the liaison and operation mechanism for the Forum, laying a solid foundation for facilitating the effective implementation of the co-operation initiatives.
In order to facilitate early implementation of the various co-operation initiatives under the Framework Agreement, provinces/regions concerned have started discussions in respect of the co-operation in commerce and trade, tourism, environmental protection, education, health and prevention of infectious disease, labour and agriculture, and have reached broad consensus on the future direction and work plans.
In addition, the first "Pan-PRD Regional Economic and Trade Co-operation Fair" was successfully held in Guangzhou from July 14 to July 17, 2004. According to the statistics provided by the organising committee, over 800 co-operation contracts were concluded among the participants during the four-day fair, with a total amount exceeding RMB 290 billion, which sets the record of trade fairs of its kind in the Mainland. Among the contracts concluded, over 200 items with a total contract sum exceeding RMB 20 billion were entered into between Hong Kong and Mainland enterprises.
Furthermore, in order to promote better understanding of the business sector on the opportunities and challenges that Pan-PRD regional co-operation may bring, the Central Policy Unit of the Government, in collaboration with the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, held a seminar on "Exploring the Pan-PRD Business Opportunities" on July 19, 2004. The Central Policy Unit also released the first monthly report of a consultancy study on Socio-Economic-Political Trends in Pan-PRD Region on November 25, 2004. The Report collates information and analyses the socio-economic and political trends of these provinces and autonomous region in the Pan-PRD region. The Central Policy Unit also held a meeting with government think tanks in the region on November 26, 2004 and another discussion forum on Pan-PRD co-operation in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Research Institute of the Chinese University of Hong Kong on December 13, 2004.
(b) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government attaches much importance to Pan-PRD co-operation and will continue to play an active role and work closely with our partner provinces/regions.
Later this month, we will attend the second liaison meeting among Secretaries-General to be held in Sichuan. The meeting would discuss issues of common concern among members of Pan-PRD co-operation, and start preparation for the second "Pan-PRD Regional Co-operation and Development Forum" and "Pan-PRD Regional Economic and Trade Co-operation Fair" to be held in Sichuan later this year.
In addition, the establishment of an expert group under the auspices of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference has been agreed. This will enable us to build on the solid foundation of and the synergy generated by Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation in various aspects and extending the positive impact across the Pan-PRD region. The expert group is expected to hold its first meeting shortly.
To foster closer co-operation with our partner provinces and regions and to enhance HKSARG's understanding of the Pan-PRD region, we have launched a visit programme to the Pan-PRD region. This programme enables us to gain a broader understanding of the development and policies of the respective provinces and regions. The first visit of the series was held last month and the 14-member delegation with representatives from ten different government bureaux/departments paid a three-day visit to Hainan Province. The next visit to other provinces in the Pan-PRD region will take place later this month.
The HKSAR Government will also continue to work closely with our partner provinces/regions to implement the co-operation initiatives already covered in the Framework Agreement, and also to identify new areas of co-operation.
(c) To boost Hong Kong's role in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, we have been pursuing various initiatives. The key areas include -
i. agreed with the Central People's Government to provide further liberalisation measures on trade in goods and services under the second phase of CEPA. This will in turn boost Hong Kong's role in the PRD;
ii. working closely with Mainland authorities, including those in Guangdong Province, to ensure the smooth and effective implementation of CEPA and to promote greater understanding of the opportunities under CEPA;
iii. conducting joint promotion with Guangdong Province and its municipalities to attract foreign investors to invest in the Greater Pearl River Delta Region;
iv. organising business visits to Zhanjiang and Yangjiang in western Guangdong, Shaoguan and Qingyuan in northern Guangdong, and Shantou and Meizhou in eastern Guangdong to explore business opportunities and to enhance economic co-operation between Hong Kong and the areas concerned;
v. encouraging Guangdong enterprises to set up businesses or to list in Hong Kong to raise capital, as well as making use of Hong Kong as a platform for business expansion and access to the international market;
vi. launched a Joint Funding Scheme with Guangdong in September 2004 to support research and development projects in six key technology areas, namely radio frequency identification technologies, automotive parts and accessory systems, electronic and information technology, new materials and fine chemical processing; critical precision manufacturing equipment; and new energy and energy-saving related technologies;
vii. undertaking improvement projects at Lok Ma Chau, Lo Wu and Sha Tau Kok to speed up traffic flow at these control points;
viii. constructing the Hong Kong - Shenzhen Western Corridor for completion in the second half of 2006.
ix. working with Guangdong on the feasibility studies on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link; and
x. expanded the ferry services between the Hong Kong International Airport and Pearl River Delta to Zhongshan and Lianhuashan in Panyu in December 2004.
Ends/Wednesday, January 5, 2005