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HKSAR to capitalise its strength to promote development of PPRD and its co-operation with ASEAN

    The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government had made substantive progress in promoting co-operation with the Pan-Pearl River Delta (PPRD) region over the past year, the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, said today (June 6) in Kunming, Yunnan Province.

     Speaking at the Third PPRD Regional Co-operation and Development Forum, Mr Tsang said the HKSAR Government would continue to make use of its strengths in financial services, tourism, logistics, economic and trade and professional services, as well as its international experience and network, to promote regional development in collaboration with PPRD provinces/regions.

     Hong Kong will also take forward its work in line with the Eleventh National 11th Five-year Plan (11th FYP), in taking forward regional co-operation and serve as a bridge to strengthen economic and trade links between the PPRD Region and ASEAN countries.

Capitalising Hong Kong's Position in the National 11th FYP

     The National 11th FYP recognised Hong Kong's position as an international centre of finance, trade, shipping etc.  It also supported the development of service industries in Hong Kong, including financial services, logistics, tourism and information technology, and enhancement of co-operation with the Mainland in various aspects.  In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will continue to capitalise Hong Kong's advantages in line with the National 11th FYP to support development in the PPRD Region.

     The Chief Executive earlier announced a plan to launch an economic summit on the 11th FYP in September this year. Representatives of various sectors will be invited to take part and deliberate with the Government on related topics with a view to formulating a strategy which has clear objectives and is practical in implementation. The HKSAR Government will also discuss suggestions arising from the summit with individual provinces/regions through the PPRD co-operation and other channels. It is expected that the work related to the summit will be completed in the first half of 2007.

     To foster Hong Kong's linkages with provinces/regions in the PPRD Region and explore opportunities for co-operation and investment, Mr Tsang led a delegation comprising representatives of the business sector to visit Guangxi Province in early June. Three other provinces in the region - Hunan, Guizhou and Jiangxi - will also be visited.

     Mr Tsang said that the HKSAR Government would take forward the work in individual areas of co-operation.

     "Financial services is the focus in our co-operation with the PPRD Region.  The Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury will lead a delegation of the financial sector to Hunan in September this year to explore financial co-operation opportunities with Hunan.  This is another important task following the visit by our financial sector delegation to Fujian last year," Mr Tsang said.

     The Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Co-operation Financial Services Forum, held in Hong Kong in March with the theme of regional co-operation in financial services, was the first of its kind organised in Hong Kong. The forum was to enable leaders and entrepreneurs from the PPRD Region to gain a better understanding of Hong Kong's financing and investment services, and facilitate them to use Hong Kong as the capital formation and investment platform.

     More than 600 participants including officials from the PPRD Region and the Central Government agencies as well as entrepreneurs and key players in the financial services sector gathered in Hong Kong for the forum.

Tourism and logistics co-operation

     Since May 1, 2006, the Individual Visit Scheme had been extended to cover all provincial cities in the PPRD Region. This has successfully fulfilled the common aspiration expressed by provinces/regions at the Second Forum. The six provincial cities covered by the extension of the scheme, including Nanchang in Jiangxi, Changsha in Hunan, Nanning in Guangxi, Haikou in Hainan, Guiyang in Guizhou and Kunming in Yunnan, have a total population of more than 20 million. This would bring about very considerate economic benefits to the hospitality, catering, retail and entertainment businesses in Hong Kong.

     The Secretary for Economic Development and Labour led a delegation of Hong Kong's tourism and logistics sectors to Yunnan in May this year to meet the government and local enterprises. The two sides have attained consensus on co-operation areas and projects which set out a clear direction for future tourism co-operation.  They include promotion of manpower training and information exchange, development and joint publicity of thematic multi destination itineraries for Hong Kong and Yunnan with reference to the historical and cultural relics, natural scenery and ethnic attractions of the two places.

     On logistics co-operation, the HKSAR delegation took the opportunity during the May visit to promote Hong Kong's advantages with its position as an international logistics hub. They also explored co-operation opportunities in areas such as manpower training, information exchange and the application of high value added logistics services (such as e-logistics).

     The Hong Kong logistics sector and the tourism sector, visited Yunnan again during the Third Forum. Based on the consensus obtained in the May visit, representatives of both sectors signed a series of co-operation memoranda and agreements with their counterparts in the presence of Yunnan Governor Mr Xu Rongkai and Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang. This provided a solid foundation and concrete direction for co-operation in tourism and logistics services.

Economic and trade links and co-operation

     To strengthen links with the PPRD provinces/regions, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong (GDETO) has expanded its geographical coverage since April 1 to cover five PPRD provinces/regions, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Fujian and Hainan.  The HKSAR Government also plans to establish an Economic and Trade Office in Chengdu, Sichuan Province (Chengdu ETO) in the second half of this year, the geographical coverage of which will include four PPRD provinces/regions - Sichuan, Hunan, Yunnan and Guizhou - as well as Shaanxi Province and the Municipality of Chongqing. The two ETOs will enhance liaison and co-operation between Hong Kong and the PPRD Region.

     At present, service industries in Hong Kong which commenced operation in the Mainland under the concessionary measures of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), are mainly located in Guangdong.  The GDETO and Chengdu ETO will step up promotion and publicity efforts on CEPA in PPRD areas outside Guangdong and render assistance to Hong Kong service industries to develop business in PPRD Region with the help of CEPA.

Facilitate interaction between East, Central and West Regions

     The National 11th FYP advocated taking forward the Mainland's Western Region Development, facilitating the budding of development in the Central Region and encouraging the Eastern Region to become the focus of development. Mr Tsang pointed out that the PPRD Region covered the Eastern, Central and Western parts of the Mainland. Co-operation in the PPRD Region would make the best use of differential development between provinces/regions with close proximity. With the advantages of professional services, talents and extensive international economic and trade connections, Hong Kong could complement the respective characteristics and potentials of the Eastern, Central and Western Regions in promoting development in the PPRD Region.

Promoting co-operation between PPRD Region and ASEAN countries

     On promoting co-operation between PPRD Region and ASEAN countries, Mr Tsang said that Hong Kong had established extensive economic and trade connections and transportation links with ASEAN countries. Hong Kong can serve as a bridge connecting the PPRD Region with ASEAN countries in the area of commerce and trade. It can assist ASEAN enterprises to invest in the PPRD Region with its profound experience in interacting with the Mainland. Hong Kong can also assist enterprises in the PPRD Region to explore business opportunities in ASEAN countries and provide a platform for their development in ASEAN markets.

Hong Kong's participation in the Third Forum

     Mr Tsang attended a PPRD leaders' conference this afternoon to discuss future plans and focus for regional co-operation. Special sector co-operation plans on transportation, energy, innovation and technology, informatisation and environmental protection, as well as the PPRD Regional Tourism Co-operation Guiding Opinion were endorsed at the meeting.  Mr Tsang also took part in a dialogue between PPRD leaders and ASEAN countries this morning, during which he spoke on the establishment of co-operation between the "9+2" and the 10 ASEAN countries in the area of economic and trade.

     The Third Forum is being held from June 5 to 8, 2006, in Kunming. Mr Tsang led a HKSAR Government delegation of 25 members to attend the forum. The delegation comprises a number of senior officials, including the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Joseph Wong; the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip; and the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma.

     During the Forum, the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau organised an economic and trade delegation to join the Third PPRD Regional Co-operation Trade Fair during June 6 to 10 in Kunming.  The delegation consists of more than 100 representatives from the commercial, tourism and logistics sectors.

     The PPRD region, also known as "9+2", comprises nine provinces/regions including Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan, as well as Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions.  

     The First PPRD Regional Co-operation and Development Forum, organised by the "9+2" governments, was held in Hong Kong, Macao and Guangzhou in June, 2004, during which the "PPRD Regional Co-operation Framework Agreement" was signed.  The Second Forum was held in Chengdu in July, 2005.

Ends/Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Issued at HKT 21:31