|12th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held in Hong Kong today (with Annex)
The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Huang Huahua, co-chaired the 12th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Hong Kong today (August 19). At the meeting, the two sides reviewed the progress of the major co-operation initiatives over the past year and discussed the future direction. Both sides agreed that concrete results had been attained in various major co-operation areas, including the implementation of the "Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta" (the Outline), major cross-boundary infrastructural projects and boundary control points, environmental protection, commerce and trade, finance, medical technology, education, tourism, as well as town planning and development.
Framework agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation
The implementation of the Outline, announced by the National Development and Reform Commission in January this year, is the key initiative of Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation this year. The main tasks include the formulation of the framework agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation to further co-operation between the two sides and to transform the macro policies under the Outline into concrete measures, and to strive for the incorporation of the content into the national 12th Five-year Plan. The preliminary study and drafting of the framework agreement are making good progress. The content is expected to be finalised this year.
Regional co-operation plans
Under the theme of Building a Quality Living Area, the regional co-operation plan aims at transforming the Pearl River Delta region into a sustainable, green and quality living area. The two sides have initiated discussions on facilitating transport links, personnel exchange, and strengthening regional co-operation over the areas of economic, environmental, cultural and social development. They will continue to actively take forward the preparation of the regional co-operation plan. In addition, the Governments of the HKSAR and Guangdong are devising the work plan for the regional co-operation plan on infrastructure construction, with a view to fostering closer co-operation on infrastructural development, and pushing forward the implementation of the Outline.
Co-operation in major cross-boundary infrastructural projects and boundary control points
The Governments of the HKSAR, Guangdong and Macao SAR are working closely to commence construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge within 2009 for completion by 2015/16. As regards the Hong Kong Section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, we plan to start construction at end 2009 for completion in 2015. As regards the rail link between the airports of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Shenzhen today signed a co-operation agreement on the next steps for the project. To reflect fully the functions of the link, it has been renamed the "Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Line". Hong Kong and Shenzhen have arrived at a consensus on the work programme for the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, with the target of having the new control point in operation by 2018.
The two sides will continue to implement the control measures under the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan, and are committed to achieving the emission reduction targets by 2010. The two sides agreed to set up a team of experts, supervised by their respective environmental protection authorities under the Hong Kong/Guangdong Joint Working Group on Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection, to undertake a joint study on the post-2010 arrangement for air pollutant emission reduction in the Pearl River Delta. The two sides will strive to complete the study in 2010. In addition, the two governments agreed to explore new co-operation models for recycling and reuse of reusable materials, and to further enhance co-operation on green transportation, promoting cleaner production and green business development, etc.
Co-operation in commerce and trade
In respect of assisting Hong Kong processing trade enterprises operating in Guangdong to restructure, upgrade and tap the Mainland's domestic market, the HKSAR Government will continue to follow up with Guangdong on the implementation of their facilitation measures, including "restructure without stopping production" and "single tax return for multiple domestic sales" arrangements, etc. The HKSAR Government will also support Guangdong to organise more business matching and exhibition activities, and actively follow up with Guangdong the views of the trade on developing the Mainland's domestic market.
Regarding efforts to implement the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), measures under Supplement V to the CEPA and those for early and pilot implementation in Guangdong Province as announced in 2008 have been implemented in early 2009. Measures under the newly signed Supplement VI to the CEPA will be implemented in October 2009. In 2008 and 2009, a total of 34 liberalisation and facilitation measures have been announced for pilot implementation in Guangdong Province.
Under the co-operation frameworks of Hong Kong/Guangdong and Hong Kong/Shenzhen, the HKSAR Government is working proactively with Shenzhen to take forward co-operation on modern services industry in Qianhai, and to set up an expert group for this purpose.
The pilot scheme of using renminbi (RMB) for cross-border trade settlements was launched last month. Enterprises in four cities, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Dongguan of Guangdong Province, enterprises in Shanghai and enterprises in Hong Kong can use RMB for trade settlements. Also, Supplement VI to the CEPA introduced various measures relating to financial services. The HKSAR Government is striving for the early implementation of two of the measures, namely the establishment of "cross-location" sub-branches relating to the banking sector and the setting up of "joint venture securities investment advisory companies" relating to the securities sector, and is working out details of its implementation.
Medical and technology co-operation
The two sides will capitalise on the technology, expertise and resources of the Mainland and Hong Kong in developing influenza vaccines with a view to enhancing co-operation in research and development and continuing to actively promote the work in this area.
With regard to the liberalisation measures in respect of medical services in the package of "Guangdong Pilot Measures" under Supplement V to the CEPA, the health authorities of both sides intend to hold a conference in September this year to review the situation of Hong Kong service providers who have applied to establish outpatient clinics in Guangdong Province and obtain the "medical practitioner's qualification certificate" through accreditation. Views will also be exchanged on the specific operation of the scheme, the application procedures and publicity work.
Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to organise collaboration projects for teacher co-operation and training, further deepen co-operation under the Sister School Scheme, support the National Education Exchange Programme for Hong Kong teachers and students, explore the feasibility of operating classes which offer the Hong Kong curriculum in privately-run schools in Shenzhen for Hong Kong children residing in the Mainland and enhance exchanges and collaboration in higher and vocational education between Hong Kong and Guangdong.
The HKSAR Government welcomes that the arrangements for non-Guangdong residents in Shenzhen to apply for Individual Visit Scheme endorsements in Shenzhen to visit Hong Kong will be implemented this year. We hope this measure can be implemented before the National Day Golden Week, so as to facilitate early visits to Hong Kong by more Mainland tourists. Both sides also agreed to actively pursue extending the measures facilitating Shenzhen residents to visit Hong Kong to the rest of Guangdong Province, deepening implementation of the CEPA and pilot measures, enhancing co-operation in developing multi-destination travel itineraries and honest and quality tourism, so as to promote the "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao tourism region" brand image. The HKSAR Government also suggested a pilot scheme in Guangdong Province, especially in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, to allow Hong Kong travel agents to operate tours to Taiwan and outbound destinations for Mainland residents.
Co-operation in town planning and development
In the development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop, both sides have initially considered that higher education could be the leading use in the Loop, complemented with hi-tech research and development facilities, as well as cultural and creative industries. The HKSAR Government commenced a comprehensive study on the Loop in June this year. Several local higher education institutes have also submitted development proposals for the area, which will be considered by the Governments of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. It is anticipated that the planned facilities in the Loop will commence operation in 2020.
The Planning Study on the Coordinated Development of the Greater Pearl River Delta Townships is largely completed, and the findings are scheduled for release in October this year. The Governments of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao are now planning to commence the Study on the Action Plan for the Bay Area of the Pearl River Estuary.
Other co-operation areas
With the deepening and advancement of co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong, the two sides will maintain close liaision and communication on co-operation items in other areas, including facilitation of people and cargo flow, safeguarding of food safety, innovation and technology, informatisation, intellectual property rights, culture, sports, notification of infectious diseases, social welfare, exchange of talent, emergency management and the joint promotion of co-operation in the Pan-Pearl River Delta region.
Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation agreement signing ceremony
Hong Kong and Guangdong signed eight co-operation agreements after the meeting, including:
* Letter of Intent in Taking Forward Co-operation on Modern Service Industries between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in Qianhai
The gist of the eight co-operation agreements is at Annex.
Co-operation achievements since the 11th Plenary
At the meeting, the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wan Qingliang, reported on the co-operation progress and achievements since the 11th Plenary.
The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Huang Huahua, co-chaired the 12th Plenary today. Principal officials of the HKSAR Government attending the meeting included the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang; 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 Kin-chung; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan; the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau; the Acting Secretary for Environment, Dr Kitty Poon; the Acting Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Yau Shing-mu; the Director of Chief Executive's Office, Mr Raymond Tam; the Head of Central Policy Unit, Professor Lau Siu Kai, and relevant officials.
The Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Zhou Bo, and the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, Mr Wang Zhi Min, also attended the meeting as special guests.