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HK-Guangdong co-operation items in progress: first working meeting


Hong Kong and Guangdong established a mechanism for communications and coordination and agreed on priority co-operation items at the first working meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, held in Hong Kong on September 9.

The meeting, designed to build on the consensus reached at the Sixth Plenary on August 5, was co-chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Executive Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Tang Bingquan.

It was agreed that the objective of the working meeting was to consolidate the strengths and promote the economic development of the greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) based on the consensus reached at the Sixth Plenary, i.e. to capitalise on and complement each partner's strengths. Guangdong will focus on developing its manufacturing industries while Hong Kong develops its financial and high value-added services. Both sides agreed to convene meetings at regular intervals, and also at other times depending on progress and developments.

Moreover, the "HK/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference Liaison Office" will continue to steer and take forward the work of the 15 expert groups set up under the Sixth Plenary.

In view of the latest economic developments in both places, the two sides have agreed to address the priority items of the 15 expert groups as follows:

On economic and trade co-operation, both sides should capitalise on the opportunities arising from the implementation of the Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). The expert group concerned will undertake the necessary preparations to explore which items can be implemented between Hong Kong and Guangdong. Both sides will hold a trade seminar in late September to allow for further communication between the governments and the business sectors of the two places.

Moreover, both sides will endeavour to promote the trade opportunities in Hong Kong and Guangdong under CEPA to overseas investors. The initiatives include an intensive investment promotion campaign in Japan and Korea in October.

On tourism, both sides agreed to enhance co-operation, in particular on the coming National Day holiday, when a large influx of tourists is expected. Measures should be in place to facilitate cross-boundary clearance by tourists. Regarding the promotion of the PRD as a tourist destination, both sides agreed that publicity should be stepped up. The Hong Kong International Travel Expo to be held in Hong Kong in September would be a good opportunity to promote the cause.

On control point co-operation, both sides agreed to implement as soon as possible measures that would improve the capacity of each control point to handle people and cargo.

For the near term, both sides agreed to increase the frequency of Hong Kong - Guangzhou through train service as soon as possible. Meanwhile, cross-boundary ferry services from the PRD to the Hong Kong International Airport for the benefit of transit passengers in Hong Kong will commence in September. The first stage of the services will cover Fuyong/Shenzhen, Shekou and Taiping/Dongguan.

For the medium and longer term, the meeting underlined the importance of the infrastructure works at the control points, such as timely completion of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Western Corridor, the new boundary bridges at Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang and Sha Tau Kok-Shatoujiao, and Huanggang-Lok Ma Chau Passenger Bridge. In particular, both sides will spare no efforts in pursuing feasibility studies of major infrastructural items such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

Both sides agreed that the prevention of infectious diseases should be one of the priority co-operation items. They concurred that this was important to protect the health of people in both places as well as to avoid the economic loss incurred by an outbreak of any infectious disease. The meeting agreed that both sides would closely follow up on the information exchange and notification mechanism set up recently between Guangdong and Hong Kong.

Members of the Hong Kong delegation who participated at the working meeting included the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Clement Mak; and the Director, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong, Mr Peter Leung. The Guangdong team of officials comprised the Deputy Secretary-General of the Guangdong Provincial Government, Mr Tang Hao, and the Director of the Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation Department of the Guangdong Province, Mr Liang Yaowen.

End/Wednesday, September 10, 2003


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