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GPRD Business Council and HKTDC Seminar on Guangdong's Economic Restructuring and Development of Western Pearl River Delta (with photos)
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    The Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council (GPRD Business Council) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) jointly organised the "Seminar on Guangdong's Economic Restructuring and Development of Western Pearl River Delta íV Opportunities and Challenges for Hong Kong" today (November 13). Over 200 representatives from the business sector and Government attended the seminar, during which the GPRD Business Council's study reports on these two themes were discussed.

     Speaking at the seminar, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, said that the Eleventh Five-Year Plan of Guangdong Province put emphasis on high-quality development of economic structure which includes developing heavy industries, upgrading the structure of service industry, enhancing innovative capabilities and developing domestic-oriented economy proactively. The west bank of the PRD is also a major development area. The Hong Kong business sector should make appropriate investment and development decisions. The HKSAR Government will actively provide assistance to the business sector for their development in Guangdong Province. Initiatives include enhancing the supporting services offered by the Guangdong Economic and Trade Office; promoting full scale implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in Guangdong Province; and co-operating with the Guangdong Provincial Government closely to develop infrastructure facilities and to enhance people, cargo and information flow.

     Chairman of the GPRD Business Council, Dr Victor Fung, said that Guangdong Province will focus on the development of heavy and petrochemical industry, high-tech industry and service industry and will expedite the development of western PRD. These will all bring along opportunities and challenges to Hong Kong. The Business Council is of the view that the Hong Kong business sector should familiarise themselves with these latest development in Guangdong Province as early as possible so as to formulate business development strategy to seize the new business opportunities. On the other hand, business enterprises will also need to make appropriate preparations, including upgrading the level of science and technology and innovative capabilities to gear up for the challenges brought about by this development and the ever- increasing competition in the market. Dr Fung said that regional economic development has become a major trend. Hong Kong should actively collaborate with Guangdong to enhance the development of the GPRD region as a whole.

     Speakers at the seminar and the Business Council's study report both pointed out that in view of the economic restructuring in Guangdong Province, business enterprises should actively formulate strategies to reform their mode of operation, enhance their productivity and upgrade the class of their products to add value to their products. Besides, the business sector should explore the development potentials of western PRD, including the advantages of the prosperous development of private economy and the clustering of professional towns. They should also explore business opportunities in areas in which Hong Kong possesses comparative advantages, such as finance, logistics, production and professional services. The service industry in Hong Kong can also assist private enterprises in western PRD to explore opportunities in overseas market. In addition, the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments should render proactive assistance to the business sector, by enhancing cross boundary infrastructure facilities; strengthening co-operation in the training of talents in both places; providing technical support to enterprises; providing more information on new policies; and facilitating people and cargo flow between the two places.

     In his concluding remarks, HKTDC Executive Director, Mr Fred Lam, said that in facing the new development in the GPRD, Hong Kong should stay ahead of the changes to help enhance the development of Guangdong Province, step up co-operation with private enterprises in Guangdong and attract them to move southward to join the Hong Kong market. At the same time, the Hong Kong business sector should broaden their vision. They should widen their sales and services market to cover the entire GPRD region.

     During the seminar, HKTDC Chief Economist, Mr Edward Leung, and Staff Officer of GPRD Business Council, Mr George Leung, separately presented the analysis and suggestions made in the two study reports.

     Professor Feng Xiaoyun of Jinan University; Deputy Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Ms Linda Lai; Legislative Council Member, the Hon Andrew Leung; Senior Partner of P. C. Woo & Co, Mr Moses Cheng; and President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Hong Kong, Mr Anthony Lau spoke at the seminar with perspective from different sectors and shared their views on how the governments and business enterprises in both places should prepare themselves in receiving the new challenges.

     The seminar was jointly organised by the GPRD Business Council and HKTDC, and was co-organised by the Mainland Affairs Liaison Office of the Constitutional Affairs Bureau, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Guangdong Sub-Council, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in China íV Guangdong.

     The Business Council was set up in March 2004 with the aim of advising the Chief Executive of the HKSAR on matters related to Hong Kong and Guangdong cooperation. It also provides avenues for the private sectors of both places to exchange ideas and views.

     Members of the public could access the website http://www.cab.gov.hk/en/issues/council.htm for the full text of the two research reports.

Ends/Monday, November 13, 2006
Issued at HKT 20:07

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