Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
CS and Mayor of Shenzhen co-chair Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting (with photos/videos)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration (CS), Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Mayor of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Mr Xu Qin, co-chaired the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting in Shenzhen today (January 11). Relevant officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government as well as officials of the Shenzhen Municipal Government attended the meeting.

     Mrs Lam said, "Over the past year, Hong Kong and Shenzhen have taken forward the various co-operation initiatives in a pragmatic manner and good progress has been made. The Mainland's efforts in speeding up the transformation of its economic structure by developing and expanding the service sector and boosting domestic demand would present enormous opportunities for co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. In the coming year, the two sides will continue to deepen co-operation in various areas."

     In the meeting, the two sides comprehensively reviewed co-operation work in 2012, and conducted in-depth discussion on a number of key areas, such as Qianhai development, financial co-operation, combating parallel trading activities, immigration clearance arrangements, cross-boundary infrastructure, co-operation on environmental protection, innovation and technology, etc. The progress made and directions for future co-operation in individual areas are set out below.

Qianhai development

     In June 2012, the State Council approved a total of 22 policies supporting the development of Qianhai. These policies cover six major areas including finance, taxation, legal services, professional services, medical services and education, and telecommunication services. By setting out clearly the opportunities arising from the development of Qianhai, these policies would assist Hong Kong business sectors to consider investing in Qianhai. The HKSAR Government welcomes the State Council's approval. In the future, the HKSAR Government will continue to maintain close ties with the relevant central ministries and Shenzhen authorities, and reflect the views of Hong Kong business sectors in a timely manner when the relevant authorities draw up other policies and detail measures for implementing the Overall Development Plan on Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation on Modern Service Industries in Qianhai Area.

Financial co-operation

     Hong Kong and Shenzhen have been actively implementing measures announced by the Central Government earlier on to promote innovative co-operation and development of the financial markets of the two places. Among these measures, a cross-boundary Renminbi (RMB) loan trial scheme in Qianhai has been announced at the end of last year. This trial scheme allows companies which are registered and have operations or investment in Qianhai to borrow RMB from Hong Kong banks with RMB business. This policy will further enhance the cross-boundary usage and circulation of RMB funds between the Mainland and Hong Kong, creating more opportunities in RMB loan business for Hong Kong banks. Other major progress in financial co-operation includes the establishment of a joint venture company by the Stock Exchanges of Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong to engage in financial product development and financial services. This joint venture company formally opened for business in September 2012; the first exchange-traded fund for Hong Kong-listed stocks was formally listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in October 2012.

     In September 2012, electronic payment card issuing bodies of the two places jointly presented the "Hu Tong Xing" card, realising interoperability of the two electronic money systems and providing convenience to frequent travellers between the two places in payments for public transport and retail purchases.

     In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will continue to push forward co-operation on pilot implementation of new RMB business between the two places, so as to facilitate the development of offshore RMB business in Hong Kong, and at the same time respond to demand on capital from Shenzhen's rapid development.

Combating parallel trading activities

     The authorities of Hong Kong and Shenzhen are concerned about the impact of parallel trading activities on residents living in the vicinity of the boundary. Customs authorities of the two places launched a special operation in September 2012 to combat smuggling activities of parallel traders through on-site notification and intelligence exchange, etc. After a series of enforcement actions, obstruction caused by parallel traders at Lo Wu Boundary Control Point (BCP) and Sheung Shui Railway Station and its vicinity has become less serious. The two sides will continue to work closely in tackling parallel trading activities.

Immigration clearance arrangements

     To facilitate entry of Mainland visitors to the HKSAR, e-Channel services for Mainland frequent visitors have been launched in phases since January 2012 at the BCPs at Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, Lo Wu, Shenzhen Bay, China Ferry Terminal, Macau Ferry Terminal and Hong Kong International Airport, providing convenience to frequent visitors from the Mainland. Currently, a total of 68 e-Channels are available for use by Mainland visitors. As at the end of December 2012, more than 380,000 eligible Mainland frequent visitors have enrolled for the e-Channel service. The number of users has accounted for more than 20 per cent of all Mainland visitors. As for the Lok Ma Chau BCP, the HKSAR Government is planning to increase the number of e-Channels from 20 to 33 and upgrade the facilities of the passenger terminal building. The improvement work is expected to be completed in 2013.

     On immigration clearance arrangements for cross-boundary students (CBSs), Hong Kong and Shenzhen have been maintaining close liaison with a view to improving the existing arrangements for immigration clearance, and providing safe and convenient clearance services to these students. Starting from the 2012/13 school year, simplified clearance procedures for CBSs have been introduced on a trial basis at Shenzhen Bay and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line to speed up immigration clearance for these students. The two sides have also introduced on-board clearance services for cross-boundary students - the Hong Kong side has extended such service from Sha Tau Kok and Man Kam To to the Lok Ma Chau control point, while the Shenzhen side has also pilot-run a corresponding arrangement at Huanggang Port.

     Separately, with the enhancement of complementary immigration measures, the number of Mainland pregnant women gate-crashing the Accident and Emergency Departments of Hong Kong hospitals without prior booking has continued to decrease during 2012. The two sides will maintain close co-operation and strengthen interceptions, so as to prevent Mainland pregnant women gate-crashing the Hong Kong Accident and Emergency Departments.

Construction of cross-boundary infrastructure

     The detailed design of the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai BCP (the Hong Kong side) site formation and the connecting road was completed in mid-2012. Construction works are expected to commence in phases starting from the first half of this year. Meanwhile, the two sides have reached a consensus and signed the entrustment agreement on the commissioning of Shenzhen to design the BCP's cross-boundary bridge. The two sides will continue to maintain close liaison with a view to commissioning the BCP no later than 2018.

     The Shenzhen River improvement project jointly implemented by Hong Kong and Shenzhen has been progressing satisfactorily. Stages I to III of the project have been completed, relieving the flood problems of the Shenzhen River and improving the living environment of the residents living nearby. The two sides are actively taking forward the detailed design of Stage IV with a view to commencing construction in the middle of this year. The project will upgrade the flood protection standard and improve the ecological value of the Shenzhen River, and will tie in with the construction of the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai BCP.

Co-operation on environmental protection

     The two governments have continued to take forward various air and water quality improvement measures, and commenced discussion on vessel emission control last year. Meanwhile, the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme, which aims to promote adoption of clean production technologies at Hong Kong-owned factories in the Pearl River Delta region, has been progressing well. As at the end of 2012, some 520 project funding applications made by enterprises based in Shenzhen had been approved, accounting for around a quarter of all funded projects. To further promote cleaner production, the HKSAR Government plans to extend the Partnership Programme for two years till March 2015.

Innovation and technology

     Four Industry, Academic and Research Bases of Hong Kong universities were set up in Shenzhen in 2011. Among them, two have been granted funding by the National Basic Research Program of the State Ministry of Science and Technology to support four of their respective research projects in 2011/12. This is the first time that funding has been granted directly to Hong Kong tertiary institutions' research programmes since the launch of this national science and technology programme.

     In addition to the above, the two sides have also made steady progress in co-operation in areas such as commerce and trade, tourism, legal, education, medical, cultural exchange and civil service exchange, etc. The two sides will continue to take forward co-operation at all fronts.

Co-operation agreements signing ceremony

     The two sides signed the following four co-operation agreements at the meeting:

* "Intent on co-operation in innovation and entrepreneurship base for the youth in Shenzhen and Hong Kong"

* "Cooperation Agreement between Invest Hong Kong of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and Invest Shenzhen on Investment Promotion" (see Annex)

* "Agreement on Cultural and Arts Promotion Cooperation Between the Two Cities"

* "Co-operation arrangement on aquatic animal disease laboratory diagnosis"

     Officials accompanying the CS in attending the meeting included the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Ms Chang King-yiu; the Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Ms Anissa Wong; the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Wai Chi-sing; the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Miss Annie Tam; the Head of the Central Policy Unit, Mr Shiu Sin-por; the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Ms Julia Leung; the Under Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Yau Shing-mu; the Under Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee; and the Under Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah.

Ends/Friday, January 11, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:56


Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo
Print this page