Second meeting of HK/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference


The delegations of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSARG) and the Guangdong Provincial Government held the second meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference in Hong Kong today (Thursday).

The two delegations are led by the Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSARG, Mrs Anson Chan, and the Vice-Governor of the Guangdong Provincial Government, Mr Wang Qishan, respectively. The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Director of the Hong Kong Economic Affairs Department of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Zhang Liangdong, also attended the meeting.

Both sides have reached consensus on the following six items:

(1) Linking up the information networks between HK and Guangdong

Both sides agreed to set up an exclusive electronic network between HKSARG and the Guangdong Provincial Government. Both governments can browse information and exchange electronic mails on the exclusive network. A Hong Kong/Guangdong expert group on information technology has been set up by the two sides to co-ordinate the project and to monitor the progress. This group will further study and formulate plans on co-operation over information technology.

(2) Improving the management of land crossings

Both sides agreed to implement two measures to improve the management of land crossings and to ease the growing cross-boundary traffic flow. These measures are: extending the opening hours of the existing four land crossings; and allowing goods vehicles to freely select the crossing points for entry and exit by phases. Details of the two measures are shown in Appendix I.

(3) Co-operation between the two sides to boost tourism

An expert group has been set up to study ways to further enhance co-operation between the two sides in promoting tourism. The group agreed to broaden the scope of work of the existing "Pearl River Delta Tourism Promotion Organisation" and to widen the extent of co-operation of this organization. It also agreed to implement five measures to promote tourism of both places. Details of the five measures are shown in Appendix II. The Guangdong Provincial Government will have to seek central approval before the implementation of these proposals.

(4) Strengthening cross-boundary co-operation on environmental protection

Both sides acknowledged that the two governments attached importance to environmental protection and expressed their determination to strengthen co-operation in this area. Through the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, both governments will work closely together to tackle cross-boundary environmental issues of mutual concern. Both parties endorsed a cooperation declaration and agreed to carry out environmental protection work on four areas and devoted their efforts to protect the natural and ecological resources in the Deep Bay, Mirs Bay and Pearl River Delta Region. Details of the declaration and the four areas of cooperation are listed in Appendices III and IV.

(5) Business environment in the Guangdong Province

Both sides agreed to examine ways to better the business environment for Hong Kong businessmen with investment in Guangdong.

(6) Hongkong-Guangdong technological co-operation

Both sides agreed to examine ways to promote technological co-operation.

Brainstorming Group

Both sides agreed to set up a brainstorming group to explore areas for long-term items of cooperation for discussion by the Joint Conference.

The Conference unanimously came to the view that under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" and mutual benefits the two sides can, on the basis of the present cooperation, seek a broader and higher level of co-operation. Both sides agreed to strengthen their work on this.

Appendix I


Improving the management of land crossings

Details of the two proposals to improve the management of land route crossings are as follows:

(1) Extending the opening hours of the four existing land crossings

(i) Lo Wu Crossing will be open half-an-hour earlier, that is the opening time will be advanced from 7 am to 6.30 am; and will be closed half-an-hour later, that is the closing time will be extended from 11 pm to 11.30 pm. The proposal will take effect from October 15 this year.

(ii) The opening hour of the Huanggang crossing for passenger vehicles and automobiles will be extended for an hour from October 15 this year, that is delaying the closing time from 9 pm to 10 pm. As regard to the issue of providing round-the-clock passage for passenger vehicles, a decision will be made later depending on the actual situation.

(iii) From April 1, 1999 onwards, the closing time of the passenger vehicles and automobile passage at Man Kam To Crossing will be deferred from 8 pm to 10 pm, similar to that for the goods vehicles.

(iv) From April 1, 1999 onwards, the closing time of goods vehicles passage at Sha Tau Kok Crossing will be extended from 6 pm to 8 pm, similar to that for passengers.

(2) Allowing goods vehicles to use any crossing points for entry and exit between the two places in two phases

For the first phase to be implemented from October 15, 1998, goods vehicles permitted to use Man Kam To and Sha Tau Kok Crossings will be allowed to use the goods vehicles of the Huanggang Crossing, which opens round-the-clock, after the two crossings are closed at night.

For the second phase, consideration will be given to the full implementation of natural diversion of goods vehicles traffic after studying the traffic flow and demand at Huanggang, Man Kam To and Sha Tau Kok Crossings.

Appendix II


Co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong to boost tourism

Details of the five proposals to promote tourism between Guangdong and Hong Kong are as follows (the Guangdong Provincial Government will have to seek approval from the relevant central authorities before implementation of these proposals):

(1) The existing visa-free access arrangement for foreign visitors in Hong Kong entering Shenzhen will be extended to Zhuhai Special Economic Zone. Visitors can then enter one special economic zone and depart from another one. They are also allowed to visit six other major cities within Guangdong Province;

(2) to allow more registered travel agencies in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to organise such visa-free access package tours into Guangdong for overseas visitors;

(3) to allow several categories of non-Gouangdong mainland people who are working or living in Shenzhen or Zhuhai to apply for joining the Group Tour Scheme in Guangdong;

(4) to let Hong Kong and Guangdong travel agencies cooperate in organising overseas tours for Guangdong residents to destinations specially authorised by the National Tourism Administration; and to allow Guangdong residents to return to Guangdong separately when they come to Hong Kong at the end of their overseas trips;

(5) to suitably relax the cross-boundary quotas for tourist coaches carrying overseas visitors on tours organised by travel agencies registered in Guangdong and Hong Kong.

Appendix III


Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation on Environmental Protection Declaration

In view of the fact that the rapid economic development in Guangdong and Hong Kong would very likely give rise to cross-boundary pollution problems, the two sides have started to cooperate on environmental protection since the 1980s, leading to the establishment of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Environmental Protection Liaison Group (EPLG) in 1990. The joint efforts of the two sides in past years have resulted in a number of achievements in environmental affairs. With the return of Hong Kong to the Mainland, it has been able to further enhance the cooperation between the two sides.

Both the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Hong Kong SAR Government fully support the current and future work programme of the Hong Kong/Guangdong EPLG. The two sides agree that it is essential to protect the natural environment and ecological resources of the Deep Bay (Shenzhen Bay), Mirs Bay and the Pearl River Delta Region. The two sides will fully implement the action plans to improve the environment in Deep Bay (Shenzhen Bay) and Mirs Bay; will push ahead with the joint study on the air quality in the Pearl River Delta Region; and will also enhance cooperation in the protection of the Chinese White Dolphins to develop a joint conservation scheme. Apart from that, the two sides also agree to strengthen cooperation in maintaining the water quality in the Pearl River Delta Region to tackle the pollution problem there.

The two governments are determined to strengthen cooperation between Guangdong Province and Hong Kong SAR on environmental affairs. As an effort to build up a beautiful environment which is mutually enjoyed, the two sides will maintain close liaison through the Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference to resolve cross-boundary environmental issues of mutual concern.

Appendix IV


Strengthening cross-boundary co-operation on environmental protection

Details of the four aspects of environmental protection work agreed by both sides for implementation are as follows:

(1) Full implementation of the action plans to improve the environment in Deep Bay and Mirs Bay so as to attain the environmental quality standard agreed earlier by both sides. The action plans will be audited regularly every six months. If needed, further actions will be taken to step up control on the pollution situation in the two areas and to conserve natural resources. Comprehensive environmental impact assessment and consultation with the two governments would be carried out before commencement of any large development project in the two areas;

(2) A joint study on the air quality in Pearl River Delta Region will be carried out in early 1999 to look into the nature and seriousness of air pollution in the Region. Action plan will then be formulated to prevent deterioration of air quality in the Region;

(3) As an effort to tackle water pollution problem in Pearl River Delta Region, the two governments will strengthen co-operation in maintaining water quality in the Region. Reference will be made to the experience of the two sides in dealing with air quality problem in the Region;

(4) To enhance co-operation between both sides in the conservation of Chinese white dolphins in the Guangdong and Hong Kong waters, the two governments will work together to develop a joint protection and conservation scheme for these dolphins which is applicable to the Pearl River estuary.

End/Thursday, September 24, 1998