|LCQ6: Regional Co-operation Platforms between HK and Mainland provinces and municipalities
Following is a question by Hon Cyd Ho and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (November 11):
In recent years, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government jointly formulated quite a number of regional co-operation plans and agreements with the provincial and municipal governments on the Mainland and the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Government (including the Letter of Intent in Taking Forward Co-operation on Modern Service Industries between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in Qianhai signed recently with the Shenzhen Municipal Government). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the number of co-operation plans and agreements jointly formulated by the HKSAR Government and the provincial and municipal governments on the Mainland as well as the MSAR Government in each of the past five years, together with the respective breakdowns, by policy area (including finance, commerce and trade, environment, education, welfare, planning of frontier areas and infrastructure, etc.), of the co-operation plans and agreements that have been confirmed and those that were signed, as well as providing summaries of the contents and complete copies of the confirmed co-operation plans and agreements; whether the authorities have made public all the signed documents; if not, of the reasons for that, together with a list of the titles of the plans and agreements that have not been made public;
(b) what mechanism the authorities have followed to deliberate and discuss with the provincial and municipal governments on the Mainland the aforesaid plans and agreements, of the names of the joint conferences and other related working meetings which were set up under the mechanism; whether and how the authorities have consulted the Legislative Council, the public and the various trades prior to the implementation of the plans and agreements reached with the various Mainland places; and
(c) in the course of implementing the aforesaid co-operation plans and agreements, whether the authorities have looked into how the differences in the legal systems of two places are to be dealt with; what mechanism the authorities have in place to ensure that the relevant acts of corruption committed outside Hong Kong will not undermine the public interests of the HKSAR, and to ensure that public money will be put to reasonable use; how the authorities curb such acts of corruption committed outside Hong Kong?
Following further reform and opening up of the Mainland, the relationship between the Mainland and the HKSAR has become closer and the two places are undertaking more frequent exchanges and co-operation in various aspects. To promote sustainable development of our economies, regional co-operation is the natural course of development. The authorities in the Mainland and the HKSAR have been creating a more favourable environment and conditions conducive to mutually beneficial development. Regional co-operation between the HKSAR and Mainland provinces and municipalities has been achieved step-by-step by building on the principles of "One Country, Two Systems", the Basic Law and a mutually beneficial and win-win relationship.
My response to the three points raised in the question is as follows:
(1) The regional co-operation platforms built with Mainland provinces and municipalities after the establishment of the HKSAR include the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, Shenzhen/Hong Kong Co-operation Meeting, Pan-Pearl River Delta Region Co-operation Co-ordination Mechanism, Hong Kong/Shanghai Economic and Trade Co-operation Conference, Hong Kong/Beijing Economic and Trade Co-operation Conference and Hong Kong/Macao Co-operation Meeting.
Between 2005 and October 2009, the HKSAR Government signed 57 co-operation arrangements with Mainland provinces and municipalities concerned under the afore-mentioned regional co-operation platforms. These arrangements, being the foundation for taking forward further co-operation, cover 20 policy areas (see the Annex for details -- Chinese version only). If a meeting on regional co-operation with the Mainland is convened, generally we will make arrangements for the officials concerned to meet the media; and will also issue relevant press releases to cover, amongst other aspects, the co-operation arrangements signed on that occasion. These arrangements help maintain transparency on co-operation with the Mainland.
As regards the latest progress and the outcome of the recent Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, we have issued a paper to report to the Panel on Commerce and Industry and would welcome Members' views.
(2) & (3) The content and scope of regional co-operation arrangements vary according to the experience gained from past co-operation with the relevant province or municipality, geographical advantages as well as the strength and complementarities of various industries. Under the afore-mentioned regional co-operation platforms, a wide range of co-operation areas are involved. For example, the co-operation areas under the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference include finance, trade (including the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the development of Qianhai), cross-border infrastructure, education, medical and health, town planning and tourism, etc.
The HKSAR Government has always pursued regional co-operation initiatives in the interest of Hong Kong. The relevant policy bureaux will consult the industries from time to time having regard to the details of individual co-operation initiatives to ensure that the co-operation arrangement concerned will create a win-win situation for the development of both Hong Kong and the Mainland.
The HKSAR Government will submit proposals for the scrutiny of the Legislative Council (Legco) on any co-operation project which requires additional funding to be approved by the Legco or involves legislation.
For instance, our initiatives to support reconstruction in Sichuan earthquake-stricken areas could only proceed after the funding proposal had been endorsed by the Finance Committee according to established procedures. Stringent measures have also been drawn up by the HKSAR Government and the relevant Mainland authorities concerned for proper fund management and monitoring of the reconstruction projects.
Where laws and regulations of the two places are involved in cross-boundary issues, for example, arrangements relating to the implementation of the co-location arrangement in the Shenzhen Bay Port and Hong Kong Port Area, they were dealt with strictly in accordance with the principles of "One Country, Two Systems" and the provisions of the Basic Law, so as to ensure that the rule of law in Hong Kong and the public interest of Hong Kong will be safeguarded.
Ends/Wednesday, November 11, 2009