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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 Hong Kong today (November 25).  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, with the concerted efforts of the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments, implementation of the co-operation initiatives has made good progress.  In the coming year, I hope the two sides will put forward more people-oriented co-operative initiatives in response to the demands of economic and social development of the two places."

     In the meeting, the two sides reviewed co-operation work in the past year and the directions for co-operation in the coming year. On livelihood matters, issues discussed included combating parallel trading activities, co-operation on education, facilitating immigration clearance, co-operation on environmental protection, etc.  On economic and trade, issues discussed included the development of Qianhai and Lok Ma Chau Loop, financial co-operation, cross-boundary infrastructure, etc.  Progress made in individual areas is set out below:

Combating parallel trading activities

     Enforcement departments of Hong Kong and Shenzhen have been working closely to combat parallel trading activities.  After the joint operations by customs authorities of the two sides in September last year and February this year, and stepping up of custom checks and enhancing intelligence exchange, parallel trading activities have subsided lately.

Cross-boundary students

     The two sides have introduced a number of measures to facilitate the increasing number of cross-boundary students to attend school speedily and safely.  In the 2013/14 school year, the number of special quotas for cross-boundary school coaches has increased 27 per cent from 110 to 140.  Hong Kong has also enhanced on-board clearance service and simplified clearance procedures for cross-boundary students in various control points, and will continue to maintain close liaison with the Shenzhen authorities to allow cross-boundary students to go to school safely, conveniently and speedily. Currently a total of seven non-government schools in Shenzhen are offering classes for children of Hong Kong residents living in Shenzhen, including one that has obtained approval recently to join the scheme.  Both sides signed a co-operation agreement today to open the above classes to children born in Hong Kong but whose parents are not Hong Kong residents.  This arrangement will provide these children with the option to receive education in Shenzhen.

Facilitation of immigration clearance

     To improve immigration clearance efficiency, apart from extending the e-Channel service to frequent visitors from the Mainland, the Immigration Department has also implemented arrangements to ease passenger flow at the control points, such as arranging staff to work overtime and opening more counters during peak hours.  Other measures taken by the Department include non-stamping immigration clearance for visitors, improvement works at control points, upgrading of Immigration Control systems, etc.  Complementary measures would be introduced in due course to tie in with the introduction by the Mainland authorities of electronic Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao, with a view to further enhancing immigration clearance efficiency and shortening waiting time.  The commissioning of new control points in the next few years will also help ease the pressure at existing control points.

Cross-boundary infrastructure

     On the basis of the consensus on preparatory works for the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point (BCP) reached by the two sides at the end of last year, construction and design of Hong Kong side facilities have commenced in January this year. Site formation works of the BCP and part of the construction work for the connecting road have also commenced in April and July this year respectively, to ensure that construction works will be completed in 2018.  Meanwhile, Stage IV of the Shenzhen River improvement project has begun in end-August this year for completion in end-2017, to tie in with the commissioning of the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai BCP.

     Separately, enhancement works at existing BCPs have been successfully completed.  With the completion of the improvement works at the passenger terminal of Man Kam To Control Point in August this year, the passenger terminal has been re-opened with substantial increase in handling capacity.  To further facilitate immigration clearance, the number of e-Channels installed at the Hong Kong side of Man Kam To BCP has increased from 9 to 16, and 11 additional cross-boundary coach parking bays and 10 additional parking spaces for cross-boundary school coaches have been added.  The HKSAR Government will continue to liaise closely with the Mainland authorities and monitor the needs of visitors to ensure smooth operation of BCPs, and provision of quality immigration service.

Environmental Protection

     The two governments have been co-operating closely to improve regional air quality.  Hong Kong announced the "Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong" in March this year, followed by the release of Shenzhen's "Air Quality Enhancement Plan" in September.  The air quality improvement measures announced by the two sides respectively include the control of emissions from land and sea transport, power plants, industrial production, etc. In the coming year, the two places will continue to make strenuous efforts to take forward various measures to improve air and water quality.

Qianhai development

     Since the State Council's approval of 22 policies supporting the development of Qianhai last year, 16 policies have been implemented.  The two sides have been stepping up efforts to take forward the implementation of the outstanding policies, including the policy to "allow Hong Kong professionals to practice in Qianhai".  In respect of construction and related engineering services, the Development Bureau signed a Letter of Intent on Collaboration with the Qianhai Management Authority this September, and an Expert Group on Planning and Construction was set up to formulate concrete proposals for Hong Kong professionals and enterprises to provide professional services directly in Qianhai, and to expand their scope of services.  The HKSAR Government will work closely with the Shenzhen authorities to reflect the views of the Hong Kong businesses on Qianhai development.

Lok Ma Chau Loop

     The Lok Ma Chau Loop (the Loop) is a major co-operation project between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.  After years of negotiation, the two governments agreed that the Loop would be mainly used for higher education, and complemented by hi-tech research and creative industries.  The Planning and Engineering Study on Development of Lok Ma Chau Loop launched by both sides in June 2009 has been largely completed, and the Recommended Outline Development Plan for the Loop was released in Hong Kong and Shenzhen in July this year.  To speed up the development of the Loop, both sides agreed to upgrade the "Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint Task Force on Boundary District Development" to be responsible for negotiation, consultation and decision on major issues of the Loop including development, operation and management.  Both sides will continue to take forward effectively the development of the Loop on the premises of "joint development and mutual benefit".

Financial co-operation

     Since the launch of the pilot scheme for cross-border Renminbi (RMB) lending in Qianhai early this year, reported cross-border RMB loans have reached RMB7 billion at end-August this year.  Separately, three Hong Kong banks have set up sub-branches in Qianhai and three insurance intermediaries with Hong Kong capital have been given the approval to set up operation in Shenzhen.  Signing of Supplement X to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) this August has also provided new opportunities for Hong Kong securities companies to co-operate with their Shenzhen counterparts, by raising the upper limit for Hong Kong side investors in joint venture fund management companies and full-licensed securities companies, and allowing qualified financial institutions with Hong Kong capital to set up full-licensed joint venture securities companies in Guangdong, Shenzhen and approved pilot zones for financial reforms.

Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation Entrepreneurship Base

     Innovation and technology is an essential element in economic development.  The Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation Entrepreneurship Base was formally set up in June this year to provide much needed opportunities for the young people in the two places to pursue their aspirations in the innovation and technology sector.

     In addition to the above, the two sides have also made steady progress in other co-operation areas, such as tourism, cultural exchange, etc.  The two sides will continue to take forward co-operation at all fronts.

Co-operation agreements signing ceremony

     The two sides witnessed the signing of the following three co-operation agreements after the meeting:

* Co-operation agreement on operating classes for Hong Kong students in Shenzhen schools;

* Co-operative agreement between the Authority of Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone of Shenzhen and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation; and

* Co-operation agreement on tourism.

Officials attending the meeting

     Officials accompanying the CS in attending the meeting included the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam; the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng; the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Ms Chang King-yiu; the Permanent Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Joseph Lai; the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Ms Julia Leung; the Under Secretary for Environment, Ms Christine Loh; the Under Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee; and the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Godfrey Leung.

Ends/Monday, November 25, 2013
Issued at HKT 21:42


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