|15th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held in Hong Kong (with photos)
The 15th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference was held in Hong Kong this morning (August 3). The meeting was co-chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Liu Kun.
The Chief Secretary for Administration said, "It is the first time for me and the Vice Governor, Mr Liu Kun, to co-chair the working meeting. The meeting has reviewed the latest work progress of Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation, particularly the implementation of the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation. We have also discussed the major tasks for the next stage and the initial arrangement for the coming plenary. I look forward to working closely with Vice Governor Liu to push forward Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation, benefiting the people of both places."
The meeting mainly discussed the following co-operation areas:
Deepening of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation
Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation
Witnessed by the state leaders, Hong Kong and Guangdong signed the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation in Beijing in early April this year. This is the first agenda on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation ever endorsed by the State Council. It sets out six long-term development positions for Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation, including a world-class new economic region, a financial co-operation region, a manufacturing and modern services base, a modern economic circulation sphere, a quality living area and a world-class metropolitan cluster. These positions have provided clear directions for Hong Kong and Guangdong's future collaboration.
The Framework Agreement is widely supported by the Hong Kong community. In particular, the Legislative Council has discussed in detail the different aspects of the Framework Agreement. To facilitate communication with industry, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and Guangdong Provincial Government organised a large-scale forum in Hong Kong in early June. This was to help industry to grasp the opportunities brought about by the Framework Agreement.
Currently, the relevant bureaux and departments of the HKSAR are working closely with their Mainland counterparts in actively implementing the various policies and measures in the Framework Agreement, as well as discussing the directions of the 2011 Work Plan. In particular, the HKSAR Government strives to incorporate the relevant policies on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation in the Framework Agreement, especially those on the functional positioning of Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation, into the National 12th Five-Year Plan.
Regional Co-operation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area
Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao are finalising the compilation of the regional co-operation plan on "Building a Quality Living Area", which is the first regional co-operation plan on quality living. It aims to enhance co-operation among the three sides in the areas of environment and ecology; low-carbon development; spatial planning; personnel exchange; transportation; culture and social living (including cultural exchange, education, social welfare and food safety). The three sides will leverage on their respective strengths to maintain and enhance the unique competitiveness of the Greater Pearl River Delta region. This will also help our economy, society and environment to achieve sustainable development. Upon completion of the study report, the three sides will release the findings of the regional co-operation plan as soon as possible.
Regional Co-operation Plan on Infrastructure Construction
Since the promulgation of the "Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta" by the National Development and Reform Commission in January 2009, the governments of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao have worked closely together on a number of co-operation initiatives. One of them is the joint compilation of the regional co-operation plan on "Infrastructure Construction".
The plan mainly aims at guiding the provision of various infrastructures for linking up the three places in a reasonable manner, with a view to fostering future development of the three places.
The governments of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao are now actively taking forward the regional co-operation plan on "Infrastructure Construction". The scope of the study comprises cross-boundary transport facilities (including highways, railways, port and airport), boundary control facilities, electricity supply, water supply, natural gas supply and cross-boundary information communication and technology infrastructure etc.
Individual Co-operation Areas
According to the current consensus, the Shenzhen Municipal Government will take up the leading role and be responsible for the development and management of Qianhai, while the HKSAR Government will provide comments on the study and formulation of issues like development planning and policies. In this regard, the HKSAR Government will continue to keep in close liaison with the Guangdong Provincial Government and Shenzhen Municipal Government, so as to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong service industries and explore the Mainland market through Qianhai. In addition, via the experiences of Hong Kong, we aim to assist in speeding up the construction of modern services industries on the Mainland, as well as bring the successful experience to other regions.
As regards financial services, four Hong Kong banks have been approved by the China Banking Regulatory Commission Guangdong Bureau to set up a total of seven sub-branches in Guangdong, by means of the "cross-location sub-branches" measure under CEPA Supplement VI. Moreover, Supplement VII to CEPA announced in May this year further relaxed relevant requirements for Hong Kong banks to set up a wholly foreign-funded bank or a foreign bank branch, as well as to apply to conduct renminbi (RMB) business.
On RMB business, there has been satisfactory development in Hong Kong in recent months. On June 22 this year, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) announced the expansion of the RMB trade settlement scheme, in particular, the coverage of the pilot scheme in Guangdong has been expanded from four cities to the whole of Guangdong province. This has provided better conditions to further promote RMB trade settlement between Hong Kong and Guangdong. Moreover, on July 19, the PBoC signed a Supplementary Memorandum of Co-operation on the expansion of the RMB trade settlement scheme with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and a revised Settlement Agreement on the Clearing of RMB Businesses with the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited, the RMB clearing bank. Thereafter, there will no longer be restrictions on banks in Hong Kong in establishing RMB accounts for and providing related services to financial institutions; and individuals and corporations will be able to conduct RMB payments and transfers through the banks.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge
Work on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) Main Bridge commenced in mid December 2009. The three governments jointly signed the Inter-governmental Agreement in late February this year. It specifies the partnership arrangements between the three governments as well as their rights and responsibilities in respect of the construction, operation, maintenance and management of the HZMB Main Bridge. The three governments also established the Joint Works Committee of the Three Governments on May 24, 2010, which will play a supervisory role over the implementation of the HZMB project. The three governments will also establish the future managing body of the Main Bridge (the HZMB Authority) this month on the basis of the Articles of Association for the HZMB Authority.
Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Line
One of the major functions of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Line (WEL) is to promote the development of Qianhai in Shenzhen and the Northwest New Territories (NWNT). It is important for the design of the WEL to take into consideration the planning of these two development areas and to make corresponding arrangements.
With the development projects of Qianhai and NWNT being taken forward, clearer planning parameters for these areas will be available. This will enable us to conduct more in-depth studies on the WEL, and explore various alignment options and their respective patronage forecasts, technical standards, service requirements, etc.
Guangdong-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link
Construction work on the Hong Kong section of the Guangdong-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link commenced in late January. The whole project is expected to be completed in 2015.
Co-operation on Environmental Protection
The efforts taken by the two governments to improve regional air quality are bearing fruit. Notwithstanding the continuing growth in the economy of the Pearl River Delta region, the average annual concentration of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the region decreased by 26% and 7% respectively in 2009 as compared to the 2008 levels. This is the result of the continual efforts of both sides in implementing emission reduction measures. Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to take forward the emission reduction measures under the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan in order to further improve regional air quality. We are striving to complete the study on the post-2010 arrangements for emission reduction in the Pearl River Delta region in 2010. Furthermore, both sides are actively pursuing co-operation in respect of the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme and cross-boundary water quality protection.
On medical collaboration, under Supplement VII to CEPA, Hong Kong service providers are allowed to establish wholly-owned hospitals in certain provinces and cities including Guangdong Province. In addition, Hong Kong service providers are allowed to set up convalescent hospitals in Guangdong Province, especially on a wholly-owned basis. This measure allows Hong Kong medical service providers to provide more diversified medical services to people on the Mainland. At the same time, this can promote exchanges and co-operation in the area of medical and health services between the two places, and improve the standard of medical services provided on the Mainland.
In addition, the HKSAR Government will develop a set of standards for 200 Chinese herbal medicines commonly used in Hong Kong in collaboration with local, Mainland and international experts. This can help establish standards for Chinese herbal medicines which are widely recognised and facilitate the promotion of Chinese medicine to the world.
On education, it was reported at the Working Meeting that the Education Bureau of HKSARG and the Department of Education of Guangdong Province jointly held the Hong Kong/Guangdong Expert Group on Co-operation in Education meeting in June this year. Both sides recognised the efforts made in promoting education development and co-operation, and proposed strategic directions for future development, and both sides recognised that achievements have been made.
Working closely with the Department of Education of Guangdong Province in the past year, both sides have achieved fruitful outcomes on education collaboration in various domains, including higher education and vocational education, teacher co-operation and training exchanges, the Sister School Scheme and the pilot project on the operation of Hong Kong children's classes in Shenzhen Minban schools. Looking ahead, both sides will:
* encourage Hong Kong higher education institutions to consider employing innovative collaboration modes with education institutions in Guangdong;
* continue teacher training, student exchanges, in-service training provision and collaborative initiatives under vocational education;
* increase the number of schools or classes for Hong Kong children living in Shenzhen, continue the implementation of the Sister School Scheme and explore strengthening exchanges among sister schools; and
* strengthen teacher training and develop two-way exchanges.
Both sides will continue to work closely to foster broader, deeper and more multi-faceted educational collaboration, with a view to nurturing talent for our country.
Other Hong Kong officials attending the 15th Working Meeting included the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau; the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, as well as representatives from the relevant policy bureaux and departments.
Ends/Tuesday, August 3, 2010
CS attends 15th Working Meeting of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference (1)
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, led a delegation to attend the 15th Working Meeting of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held at the Central Government Offices New Annexe today (August 3). Photo shows Mr Tang greeting with the Vice Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Liu Kun.
CS attends 15th Working Meeting of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference (2)
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, leads a delegation to attend the 15th Working Meeting of Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference held at the Central Government Offices New Annexe today (August 3).