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HK and Shenzhen conclude co-operation agreements


The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr Li Hongzhong, concluded the Shenzhen/Hong Kong co-operation meeting at Government House this (June 17) morning.

After the meeting, both sides signed a memorandum on enhancing co-operation. Relevant departments and agencies on both sides also signed eight co-operation agreements on areas covering legal services, industry and trade, investment promotion, economic and trade exchange, tourism and advanced technology.

Mr Tsang said: "The most important outcome has been the setting up of direct communication channels for both sides within the framework of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference."

"In the days ahead, we will start preliminary studies and exchange views on matters of common interest, and submit proposals to the Joint Conference when they are ready."

Shenzhen and Hong Kong reached consensus on the principle of closer co-operation, as evidenced by the memorandum. To pursue long-term economic prosperity for both sides, Hong Kong will continue to give play to its strengths as an international service centre with a superior business environment; the position of the Greater Pearl River Delta will be enhanced to that of a key world manufacturing base. Meanwhile, Shenzhen will be the foothold for Hong Kong to develop its economic hinterland. Hong Kong's status as an international commercial, financial and logistics and shipping centre will be enhanced through Shenzhen.

Mr Tsang said: "Today's meeting speaks of both sides' willingness to strengthen co-operation. Our aim is to complement each other to gain mutual benefits and prosperity. Our co-operation is comprehensive, multifarious and pragmatic."

Both sides exchanged views on a number of policy areas, including control points, infrastructure, tourism, logistics, industrial, commercial and professional services, high-tech co-operation, monetary affairs, legal services, environmental protection, education and civil service exchange.

Among the key issues discussed at the meeting were the strengthening of economic and trade co-operation and the implementation of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Economic integration of the two places has broadened and entered a deeper level under CEPA. To accord with the overall arrangements of CEPA, Hong Kong and Shenzhen will implement relevant measures and promote the further integration of the two markets in a number of areas, for example, professional services.

To this end, the Secretary for Justice and the Director of the Shenzhen Bureau of Justice concluded the Agreement on Legal Services Co-operation, which will further enhance co-operation on legal services.

Both sides will also promote bilateral investment. Mr Tsang hoped that more Shenzhen private enterprises would be set up in Hong Kong. They could build up brand name products and access the international market, making use of the trade and financial services in Hong Kong.

"Private enterprises have been developing rapidly in Shenzhen. At end-2002, there were over 66,000 private enterprises with a total registered capital of more than $100 billion. There is ample room for development in terms of bilateral investment," Mr Tsang said.

Both sides agreed to strengthen co-operation on economics and trade, including exchanges between investment and trade agencies, and on mutual trade promotion and investment ventures. To this end, three agreements were signed between the Trade & Industry Department, Invest Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council respectively with the Shenzhen Bureau of Trade & Industry.

On infrastructure, both sides saw the need to enhance co-operation on ports to foster healthy competition and avoid duplication of resources. To further integrate logistics resources such as ports and airports, both sides agreed that Hong Kong should be the focal point of the Pan-Pearl River Delta region logistics system to connect to the world and to expand into the Mainland.

Improving cross-boundary passenger and cargo flows is an ongoing task. Both sides are endeavouring to meet the target of completing clearance procedures in 30 minutes for passengers and in one hour for goods vehicles. They will continue to strengthen co-operation at control points.

With the strengthening of the "individual visit" market, both sides signed two agreements aimed at increasing the cross-boundary tourist flow and helping with the development of tourism in both places through stepped up co-operation in promotions.

Moreover, the two sides will strengthen the notification system regarding tourist information and coordination to facilitate passenger flow during the "Golden Week" holiday. To safeguard tourists' interests, and to raise service standards, both sides will step up coordination in market operation and management.

To strengthen existing co-operation, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council concluded the Agreement on Tourism Co-operation and the Agreement on Closer Tourism Market Management Co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Shenzhen and Hong Kong have all along been close partners on the financial front. A number of financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies, have set up branches in both places. On financial infrastructure, both sides have set up joint clearing arrangements for cheques, bank cards and real-time electronic money transfers. They have also provided clearing arrangements for personal renminbi deposit, exchange, remittance and card business in Hong Kong. This enhances economic integration and consumption in the two places. Co-operation between financial regulators on both sides and the exchange of supervisory information, financial expertise and co-operation of capital markets will be promoted.

On education, Shenzhen and Hong Kong will work together to develop basic education in the two places. On the increased number of cross-boundary students travelling daily between the two places, both sides will further study and improve the arrangements for "schools for Hong Kong children".

On tertiary education, five universities in Hong Kong have taken part in the Shenzhen Virtual University Park programme. To tie in with the trend of developing high-value products in the Pearl River Delta, both sides agreed that universities and research institutes in the two places had abundant co-operation opportunities. To this end, the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited signed the Agreement on Technological Exchanges and Services Co-operation and Agreement on Strategic Co-operation respectively with the Office of the Leading Group of Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park.

The Joint Conference attaches great importance to the principles of sustainable development. In line with this, Shenzhen and Hong Kong will strengthen co-operation on ecosystems and environmental protection. The two sides will work together to monitor ambient air and maritime pollution and to make speedy exchanges of information on ecosystems and environmental protection. Co-operation and technology exchange in areas such as flood prevention and improvement of water quality will also be stepped up. Both sides will share experiences on management of municipal amenities, environmental hygiene, transport and city management.

Shenzhen and Hong Kong will take further their civil service exchange, including work attachments, to enhance understanding of each other's structure and operation. The HKSAR Government will consider providing training courses on public administration to Mainland civil servants.

This is Mayor Li's first official visit to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the invitation of the Chief Executive. Accompanying Major Li at the meeting were the Executive Deputy Mayor Xu Zongheng and Deputy Mayors Zhuo Qinrui, Liu Yingli and Chen Yingchun.

Hong Kong officials attending the meeting included the Secretary for Justice, Ms Elsie Leung; the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur Li; the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Joseph Wong; the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip; the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma; the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; and the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Miss Denise Yue.

The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, and the Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr Li Hongzhong, will steer co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, meet regularly and exchange views on issues of concern to both sides.

Ends/Thursday, June 17, 2004


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