|CS attends the 10th Working Meeting of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference
The 10th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference was held in Guangzhou today (8 January). The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, and the Executive Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Tang Bingquan, together with the government officials of both sides, reviewed the progress in many areas of co-operation, explored in depth the positioning of long-term co-operation of both sides and agreed on the implementation plans for a number of key co-operation areas for the coming months. Discussion of the meeting covered the following areas of co-operation:
Co-operation in major cross-boundary infrastructural projects and boundary control point
More than 20 topical studies have been completed under the feasibility study of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project. Both sides agreed on pressing ahead with the remaining topical studies and striving for early implementation of the project.
The “Hong Kong/Shenzhen Joint Preliminary Planning Study on Developing the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point” will soon be completed. The HKSAR Government’s internal planning study on the development of the new control point of Hong Kong of will also be completed in the first quarter of 2008. Relevant specific work will be discussed in detail by the newly established "Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint Task Force on Boundary District Development".
Co-operation in environmental protection
The mid-term review of the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan has been completed. The report is available from the websites of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the Guangdong Province (http://www.gdepb.gov.cn) and the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR Government (http://www.epd.gov.hk). The report findings reaffirm that the emission reduction measures adopted by both sides under the Management Plan could bring about positive impact on abating air pollutant emissions in the region, and are therefore conducive to achieving the agreed 2010 emission reduction targets by both sides. Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to implement the emission control measures set out in the Management Plan. The Guangdong Provincial Government will implement additional emission control measures in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone taking account of the recommendations of the Mid-term Review. Both sides are committed to achieving the jointly agreed emissions reduction targets by 2010.
Hong Kong and Guangdong have announced the report in October 2007 on the monitoring results of the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network for the first half of 2007. Both sides are now preparing for the announcement of the 2007 report for release in April 2008.
To encourage enterprises in Hong Kong and Guangdong to contribute to the improvement of the regional environment, the HKSAR Government plans to allocate about $93 million to launch a five-year “Cleaner Production Partnership Programme” in April 2008. Guangdong agrees to jointly promote the programme and explore appropriate arrangements to encourage Hong Kong-owned factories and environmental technology service providers in both places to actively participate in the programme.
Co-operation in innovation and technology
On top of receiving applications from institutions registered and established in their own places, the two sides, in the way of "Guangdong/Hong Kong Technology Co-operation Funding Scheme", have agreed on introducing a new mode of operation, under which joint funding applications from institutions of both places would be accepted to support projects falling into two key technology areas on “white LED core technologies with high power efficiency” and “energy-saving and new energy vehicles”. These applications have been vetted by the governments of both sides for joint funding support.
In the past three years, Hong Kong and Guangdong have allocated a total of $1.08 billion to support over 400 “research and development” (R&D) projects in various technology areas. Under the 2007 funding scheme, both sides have received 24 applications under the new category of co-funded projects, and about 300 applications from institutions registered and established in the two places. Vetting results are expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2008.
Both sides will continue to organise various technological exchange activities, such as visits and seminars, with a view to facilitate better understanding of the technological needs of enterprises in the Pearl River Delta, to introduce the R&D deliverables of Hong Kong and to provide new momentum for co-operation between the industry and R&D organisations.
Co-operation in economic and trade
Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to ensure the effective implementation of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). The two sides also agreed to continue promoting collaboration in the services trade and in the exchange between professional personnel through the Expert Group on Implementing CEPA Services and the relevant units of both places.
The two sides will continue to support Hong Kong enterprises in Guangdong Province to restructure and upgrade through the Hong Kong/Guangdong Expert Group on the Restructuring and Upgrading of the Processing Trade.
Co-operation in tourism
The tourism authorities of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao agreed to enhance the existing tripartite co-operation by setting up the “Committee on tourism co-operation in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao” to step up joint tourism promotion, and develop more multi-destination itineraries targeting different source markets. On the other hand, Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to maintain close co-operation in promoting "honest and quality tourism".
Both sides agreed to continue enhancing the exchange on the front of financial co-operation, including to organise joint seminars and visit programmes.
Other areas of co-operation
The two sides will continue to maintain close co-operation and communication in other areas, including safeguarding food safety, facilitation of cross-boundary people and cargo flow, town planning and development, informatisation, social welfare, culture, sports, education, exchange of personnel as well as concerted efforts in promoting Pan-Pearl River Delta Co-operation and strategic studies.
The Chief Secretary for Administration showed appreciation to the Executive Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Tang Bingquan, for taking forward the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation over the years enthusiastically. He stressed that, the HKSAR Government will enhance co-operation with Guangdong with an aim to complementing each other with its own strengths and achieving development to mutual benefits.
Key officials attending the meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration include the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, and the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam.
Ends/Tuesday, January 8, 2008