2009-10 Policy Address by Chief Executive (7)

Regional Co-operation

Co-operation with Guangdong

Developing the PRD Market

44. The Government's strategy for promoting the six industries is to seize the opportunities arising from our co-operation with Guangdong and align our efforts with measures already introduced to get immediate results.  The Outline elevates co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong on all fronts to a national strategic level, and provides for the early and pilot implementation of various measures in Guangdong. Therefore, tremendous opportunities are now available in the PRD market for the six industries. Since my pledge in April to explore these industries, the Government and the trades concerned have capitalised on the opportunities by actively taking forward their development in the PRD.  In just a few months, our efforts have begun to yield results, particularly in the areas of education and medical services.

45. In the past 30 years, Hong Kong has fully participated in the reform and opening up of the Mainland and the industrialisation process, and we ourselves have transformed from a manufacturing base into a service-oriented economy.  In the next 30 years, development of service industries will be critical for the Mainland economy.  This sets a clear direction for Hong Kong in the PRD region.

46. The National 11th Five-Year Plan states that "support will be given to Hong Kong in the development of its service industries such as financial services, logistics, tourism and information services, and the maintenance of Hong Kong's status as an international centre of financial services, trade and shipping".  Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao have enhanced mutual co-operation in various key areas.  By leveraging the framework and platform provided by the Outline and our own strengths, Hong Kong will be able to contribute to a better industrial structure within the region.  In so doing, our service industries can tap a huge market.

Early and Pilot Implementation

47. To capitalise on this strategic opportunity, the governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong are formulating a framework agreement for Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation.  This will translate the Outline's macro policies into concrete measures conducive to the development of both places. The framework will also serve as an agenda for Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation, laying a foundation for us to seek to incorporate the related initiatives into the National 12th Five-Year Plan.  We will work with Guangdong and Macao to formulate two regional co-operation plans on building a quality living circle and on infrastructure development to improve the living environment and upgrade infrastructure in the three places.  In addition, under Supplements V and VI to CEPA, a number of measures for early and pilot implementation in Guangdong have been introduced.  We will continue to promote CEPA, ensure its effective implementation and seek further liberalisation and facilitation measures under it.  As co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong continues to increase, we will strengthen the functions and establishment of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong, and establish a dedicated unit for liaison with Shenzhen.

Development of Qianhai

48. The Government hopes that by participating in the development of Qianhai in Shenzhen, Hong Kong will be able to promote and enhance our own service industries, thereby fostering our long-term economic growth, and contribute to the development of service industries in the Mainland.

49. At the meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in August this year, Hong Kong and Shenzhen signed a letter of intent on co-operation in the development of Qianhai. We will continue to actively explore with the Guangdong Provincial Government and Shenzhen Municipal Government, under the frameworks for Hong Kong-Guangdong and Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operation, on how best to leverage Hong Kong's advantages as an international financial, trade and shipping centre, and combine the strengths of both sides to promote the development of modern service industries in Qianhai.

Enhancing Exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan

50. In response to the latest development in cross-Strait relations, we will actively pursue economic, cultural, social and other exchanges with Taiwan in accordance with the Basic Law and Qian Qichen's Seven Principles. The Central Government encourages and supports the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's efforts.  We will adopt the following strategies for developing our relations with Taiwan:

(1) Establishing a co-operation framework -- Apart from initiating the work of the bilateral business co-operation committees, we will establish a Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council to promote multi-faceted, multi-level exchanges with Taiwan.  We will consider setting up a multi-functional office in Taiwan at an appropriate time and in an appropriate format to enhance high-level exchanges between the two places;

(2) Fostering bilateral economic co-operation with Taiwan -- We will foster economic co-operation with Taiwan, focusing particularly on trade in services, and will commence discussions with Taiwan on arrangements for avoidance of double taxation, with a view to achieving progress and results; and

(3) Playing an active role in financial, economic and trade, tourism and other exchanges between the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong -- We will play an active role in providing cross-Strait RMB clearing services. We will seek to enable Hong Kong travel agents to operate in the Mainland tours to Taiwan, and explore the further development of cross-Strait Mainland-Hong Kong-Taiwan multi-destination tourism products, including air and cruise packages.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 11:48