HK/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference holds 11th Working Meeting in HK (with photos/video)

    The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wan Qingliang, co-chaired the 11th Working Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Hong Kong this afternoon (June 23).

    Mr Tang said, ˇ§This is the first time Vice-Governor Wan and I co-chaired the working meeting. I am glad that we had constructive and in-depth discussions to review the progress in our co-operation initiatives and to map out our priority tasks for the next stage. I look forward to working closely with Vice-Governor Wan to foster further co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong.ˇ¨

    The two sides discussed a number of major co-operation areas, and prepared for the 11th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, to be co-chaired by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Governor of Guangdong Province. Both sides agreed that the plenary would be held in Guangzhou this summer, and reached consensus on the major co-operation areas as well as the work plan of Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation  to be discussed at the plenary.

    At the meeting, the two sides also reviewed the progress and the results of a number of co-operation initiatives the 10th Working Meeting the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, including the following:

Co-operation in major cross-boundary infrastructural projects and boundary control points

    Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao have already worked out a mutually agreeable option on the financing arrangement for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB). The next stage of work is to complete the assessment of the feasibility study report of the project and finalise the report as soon as possible for submission to the Central Government. The three governments will continue to consider various options to speed up the progress of the project, having regard to their common aspiration for its early completion. The HKSAR Government has already secured funding approval earlier this month from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council to commence pre-construction works for the HZMB and the investigation and preliminary design study for the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF), so that the HKBCF and the HZMB Main Bridge could be completed at the same time.

    Regarding the GuangzhouˇVShenzhenˇVHong Kong Express Rail Link, the HKSAR Government has announced that further planning and design of the Hong Kong section will be conducted by the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Limited. Our target is to complete the planning and design of the project within this year and to start the construction works in 2009 for completion in 2014/15. Together with Mainland counterparts, we are pressing ahead with the study on the options for connecting the tunnel of the Hong Kong section and the Shenzhen section at the boundary, as well as the construction arrangements in order to ensure effective connection of the two sections.

    Hong Kong and Shenzhen have agreed in principle to adopt the proposals of the preliminary planning study on the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai control point. Both sides will consider developing a new land control point in the east of Shenzhen and Hong Kong to facilitate cross-boundary traffic. Under the people-oriented principle and with the aim of facilitating customs and inspection arrangements of both places, further study will be conducted on the layout and design of the proposed control point.

    Hong Kong and Shenzhen are also looking into the feasibility and the economic viability of connecting their airports by railway, and other items on airport business co-operation. The preliminary study on the railway connection is making good progress and is targeted for completion within 2008. The two airports have also signed a framework agreement on passenger facilitation to provide greater convenience to transit passengers of both places.

Co-operation in environmental protection

    The two sides will continue to actively implement the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan and the enhancement measures set out in the mid-term review report. Both sides are confident of achieving the jointly agreed emissions reduction targets by 2010. The two sides are exploring further to strengthen and deepen co-operation on environmental protection in a bid to better satisfy the demands for environmental improvements and quality living from the Guangdong and Hong Kong communities.

    The HKSAR Government and the Hong Kong Productivity Council have formally launched a five-year ˇ§Cleaner Production Partnership Programmeˇ¨ in collaboration with environmental technology service providers in Hong Kong and Mainland in April 2008. The programme aims to assist and encourage Hong Kong-owned factories in the Pearl River Delta Region to adopt cleaner production technologies and processes, to implement energy conservation and to reduce emission of air pollutants. Hong Kong and Guangdong are now making great efforts in encouraging Hong Kong-owned factories and environmental technology service providers in both places to actively participate in the programme.

Co-operation in economics and trade

ˇ@ˇ@While expanding the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to exchange views and co-operate on the further implementation of CEPA so as to create business opportunities for the two sides.

    The HKSAR Government has been in close liaison with the Guangdong provincial authorities, through the ˇ§Expert Group on the Restructuring and Upgrading of the Processing Tradeˇ¨ of the Hong Kong and Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference together with other co-operation channels, on matters such as assisting Hong Kong-owned processing trade enterprises to upgrade and restructure their operations.  With the support of the Guangdong Provincial Government, the HKSAR Government and the Hong Kong Productivity Council jointly launched the ˇ§Transform, Upgrade and Relocate for a New horizonˇ¨ (TURN) initiative to provide assistance to Hong Kong-owned processing trade enterprises to upgrade and restructure their operations through measures such as seminars to be held in Hong Kong and Guangdong, on-site assessments, and formulation of solutions for them.
    The HKSAR Government and various municipalities in Guangdong will conduct joint visits overseas (including Singapore, Paris, Birmingham and Chicago) in 2008 to promote the Pearl River Delta (PRD) and the Pan-PRD areas and to launch joint investment promotional activities.

Co-operation in tourism

    Both sides agreed to continue their co-operation on promoting quality and honest tours to Hong Kong and multi-destination-itineraries products. They also agreed to strengthen co-operation on regulating the tourism markets to combat unscrupulous practices of the trade as a result of "zero or negative fare", with a view to promoting healthy development of the travel industries of both sides.

Town planning and development

    On the principle of joint study and joint development, the HKSAR and Shenzhen Governments have decided to carry out a comprehensive study soonest to explore the feasibility of developing the Lok Ma Chau Loop and land uses on the basis of mutual benefit.  To provide a basis for the comprehensive study, the two sides have separately commissioned research organisations to conduct public engagement exercises on future land uses for the Lok Ma Chau Loop area. Public forums and group discussions are being held to collect views from the community and experts on both sides. The public engagement process is expected to be completed at the end of August 2008.
    The HKSAR Government conducted exchanges on town planning and comprehensive regional transportation separately with the Zhongshan, Foshan and Huizhou municipal authorities during the first half of this year.

Other areas of co-operation

    Both sides will continue to maintain close co-operation and communication in other areas, including safeguarding of food safety, facilitation of people and cargo flow, informatisation, intellectual property rights, innovation and technology, culture, sports, education, notification of infectious diseases, social welfare and strategic studies, etc.

    Key officials attending the meeting were the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan; the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau; and the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng.

Ends/Monday, June 23, 2008
Issued at HKT 18:04