Nineteenth Plenary of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held in Guangzhou (with photos)
The Chief Executive said, "At the 19th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Zhu Xiaodan, and I reviewed the progress of Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation over the past year and set the directions for co-operation for the next year. Both sides considered that the implementation of the co-operation items under the 2016 Work Plan has made good progress. Besides, the coming year is a critical year for our nation's implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan (13-5 Plan), Mr Zhu and I had especially exchanged views on areas where Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation could be strengthened as set out in the Dedicated Chapter on Hong Kong and Macao in the 13-5 Plan, in particular innovation and technology as well as youth co-operation. Both sides shared the view that the 13-5 Plan provided immense opportunities for Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation, and in the years ahead Hong Kong and Guangdong should grasp this opportunity to contribute to the future development of Hong Kong and our nation."
In respect of individual areas of co-operation, the progress made and the directions for future co-operation are set out below:
The Belt and Road Initiative
In supporting Financial Integration between Hong Kong and Guangdong, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority formally set up the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO) in July this year. The IFFO is intended to provide a platform for information exchange and experience sharing for investors in Hong Kong, the Mainland (including Guangdong Province) as well as in countries along the Belt and Road and to promote infrastructure investments and financing. In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will encourage various sectors to make good use of this platform and bring together investors and industries from all around the world and the Mainland, facilitating enterprises in the Mainland (including Guangdong Province) to engage in investment and financing of infrastructure projects in countries along the Belt and Road.
The HKSAR Government organised the inaugural Belt and Road Summit in May this year to explore the development opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council will organise the Summit again next year, and key officials and business leaders from countries and regions along the Belt and Road will be invited to attend the Summit. Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) organised in March this year an incoming mission to Hong Kong for Mainland enterprises, including Guangdong enterprises, to facilitate them to have an understanding of the latest development in Hong Kong and use Hong Kong as a platform to "go global". In the coming year, InvestHK will collaborate with government departments as well as business and trade organisations in Guangdong Province to organise more investment promotion activities including roadshows, visits to countries and regions along the Belt and Road, etc. to step up efforts in promoting Hong Kong as a desirable platform for Mainland enterprises to "go global", and encourage enterprises in Guangdong to leverage the business advantages of Hong Kong to expand business in countries and regions along the Belt and Road.
The HKSAR Government is actively preparing for the launch of the HK$200 million Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme to support Hong Kong professional services in enhancing exchanges and co-operation with their counterparts in external markets, Guangdong Province and other regions. The professional services sector of Hong Kong can capitalise on the Scheme to launch various types of projects, including outreach and visit activities, professional exchange programmes, capacity-building programmes and researches/studies, etc., with a view to enhancing co-operation between the Hong Kong professional services and their counterparts in external markets, Guangdong Province and other regions.
On tourism co-operation, tourism administrations in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have been making joint publicity efforts through different promotion platforms. In the coming year, the three tourism administrations will promote the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao tourism branding to the Belt and Road countries and regions, promoting the advantages of regional tourism with a view to developing more "multi-destination" cruise itineraries to attract more overseas visitors to Guangdong and Hong Kong.
Innovation and Technology
The Hong Kong/Guangdong Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Expert Committee held its first meeting early this year to promote technology development and application of cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things and smart city, and formulate standards and guidelines that are applicable to both places, as well as to facilitate the participation of the industries of both places in the formulation of ICT standards in international organisations.
As regards the Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Co-operation Funding Scheme (TCFS), as of end-July this year, 246 technology co-operation projects have been funded by the Innovation and Technology Fund, amounting to about HK$833 million. The 2017 TCFS will continue to render strong support to research and development (R&D) projects Guangdong and Hong Kong, so as to drive the development of high technology and the commercialisation of R&D results in both places.
The HK$300 million Youth Development Fund was launched by the Home Affairs Bureau in July to assist Hong Kong young people in starting their own business by providing financial support in the form of matching funds for non-government organisations. Funding approval is expected to be granted to the first batch of projects in early 2017 to provide funding support to young people to start their own business in Hong Kong or other places (including Guangdong Province).
In 2016-17, the HKSAR Government had sponsored a total of 95 Mainland internship programmes for young people, benefitting some 3 700 Hong Kong youth participants, of which about 1 300, which accounted for more than one-third of the total participants, had engaged in summer internship in Guangdong Province. On youth exchange, the HKSAR Government had sponsored a total of 265 Mainland youth exchange programmes, benefitting 16 600 and 3 900 Hong Kong and Mainland youth participants respectively. About 7 200 Hong Kong young people, which accounted for more than 40 per cent of Hong Kong participants, had participated in Guangdong exchange programmes. On voluntary services, the second Guangdong-Hong Kong Youth Volunteer Service Programme was held in July this year under which some 120 Hong Kong students had undertaken voluntary services in Meizhou, Maoming, Zhaoqing and Jieyang. Besides, since the launch of the Service Corps Programme in 2011, more than 100 young people in Hong Kong had been recruited to participate in the six phases of the programme. Delegates of the Phase VII programme will depart for Shaoguan and Meizhou in Guangdong Province on September 19 to provide voluntary services. The Home Affairs Bureau has been actively discussing with relevant authorities in Guangdong Province on ways to enhance various youth exchange and co-operation programmes in the coming year, including seeking more diversified internship opportunities and organising more youth exchange programmes with distinctive themes.
To implement the Co-operation Agreement on Regional Air Pollution Control and Prevention among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, the three sides released the 2015 monitoring results in June this year, and have been working on a plan to include the monitoring of volatile organic compounds in the air quality monitoring network. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Joint Regional PM2.5 Study has been progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed in 2017. The Study will provide a scientific basis for mapping out further air quality improvement strategies for the Pearl River Delta region. Hong Kong and Guangdong will also continue to implement the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme to facilitate Hong Kong-owned factories in Hong Kong and Guangdong to adopt cleaner production technologies and practices.
In view of the large amount of floating refuse found in Hong Kong waters this summer, the environmental protection authorities of Guangdong and Hong Kong have agreed to set up a notification and early warning mechanism to foster co-operation in protecting the marine environment so that marine environmental problems, including floating refuse, could be better tackled in future.
On financial co-operation, the State Council approved the Implementation Plan for Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect in August, and the securities regulations of the Mainland and Hong Kong had also issued a joint announcement on the same day. Relevant authorities of the two places are now proceeding with the preparation work to officially launch the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect within four months after the issuance of the joint announcement, so as to further promote mutual access of the Hong Kong and Mainland capital markets.
Since its launch in Qianhai in early 2013, the Renminbi (RMB) cross-border lending pilot scheme has gradually been extended to other areas in Guangdong Province. On capital-raising through listing, currently 204 Guangdong enterprises are listed in Hong Kong, representing 21 per cent of the Mainland companies listed in Hong Kong, raising more than HK$679.8 billion. In addition, a total of 18 Hong Kong subsidiaries of Guangdong-background financial institutions have been granted the RQFII licenses, which including 12 fund management companies and 6 securities companies.
On insurance business, the HKSAR Government is discussing with relevant Mainland authorities on the gradual lowering of entry threshold for Hong Kong insurance companies to set up offices in the Guangdong Free Trade Zone.
Following the promulgation of the "Guiding Opinions of the People's Bank of China on Providing Financial Support for the Establishment of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone" (Guiding Opinions) in December 2015, the Guangzhou Branch of the People's Bank of China announced the relevant details in April this year, giving effect to some of the policy initiatives put forward in the Guiding Opinions. In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will liaise with the relevant Mainland authorities to take forward the implementation of the relevant initiatives in the Guiding Opinions, promoting the two-way cross-border flows of RMB and financial business between Hong Kong and Guangdong.
Co-operation in Professional Services
With the signing of the Agreement on Trade in Services late last year, pilot areas in which associations between Hong Kong and Mainland law firms operating in the form of partnership can be established have been extended to the whole of municipal cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. As of August this year, nine associations between Hong Kong and Mainland law firms operating in the form of partnership have been given approval to operate in the pilot areas, of which six are in Qianhai, Shenzhen, one in Nansha, Guangzhou and two in Hengqin, Zhuhai. In the coming year, the Department of Justice will continue to co-operate with the relevant Mainland authorities to actively seek the extension of the pilot areas to cover the entire Guangdong Province.
Under CEPA (Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement), Hong Kong construction and related engineering professionals may obtain Mainland’s construction professional qualifications through mutual recognition, and register for practise in Guangdong. As of April this year, more than 150 construction professionals, including architects, structural engineers, real estate appraisers and cost engineers, have registered for practise in Guangdong. Qianhai has also implemented measures including compilation of a list of Hong Kong construction professional enterprises and establishing a registration and documentation system for the Hong Kong professionals. In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will seek to extend the Qianhai systems to Nansha and Hengqin.
Co-operation in Key Regions
On Qianhai development, more than 3 500 Hong Kong-invested enterprises have been registered in Qianhai. In June this year, the first joint venture fund management company with majority Hong Kong ownership was given approval to set up in Qianhai under the CEPA framework. There are more than 100 young entrepreneur teams which have taken part in the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub, of which 52 are Hong Kong entrepreneur teams. In addition, in May this year, Qianhai issued a notice entitled "Trial Implementation of Rules on the Assignment of Land Use Right in respect of Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone in Qianhai, Shenzhen by Bidding, Auction and Quotation" which sets out clearly that guided by the principle of Shenzhen-Hong Kong co-operation, land requirement for Shenzhen-Hong Kong co-operation projects would be met in an effective manner. In addition, a new land sale programme has just been launched in August this year and among the three sites put up for sale under the programme, one is for Hong Kong enterprises. Separately, the Qianhai authority has decided to introduce, on a trial basis, Hong Kong construction model in a construction project, incorporating elements of Hong Kong project management in various stages, including project design, planning, procurement, management as well as works supervision, and engaging Hong Kong professionals and companies in the construction and related engineering sector for direct services. In the coming year, both sides will continue to make joint efforts in promoting the development of Qianhai to provide more development opportunities for Hong Kong people and enterprises, especially professional services and young people.
On Nansha development, the "Implementation Plan on the Establishment of the Nansha Area of Guangzhou of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone" has been issued by the development zone. The two places will urge the Nansha authority to introduce more preferential policy initiatives for Hong Kong people and enterprises. As for Hengqin, as of March this year, more than 220 Hong Kong-invested enterprises in the cultural and creative and tourism industries where Hong Kong enjoys advantages have set up business in Hengqin.
Co-operation in Education
On co-operation in education, currently 351 pairs of Guangdong-Hong Kong sister schools have been formed. The number is expected to increase by at least 40 pairs in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 school years. In respect of Mainland Exchange Programmes for primary and secondary students, more than 45 000 teachers and students have visited the Guandong Province in the 2015/16 school year. On the existing basis, exchange activities relating to innovation and technology, sports and arts, and visits to emerging enterprises will be organised to enhance the Programmes.
In the coming year, Guangdong and Hong Kong will study ways to enhance the Guangdong-Hong Kong Sister School Scheme, the Mainland Exchange Programme for primary and secondary schools and the Mainland Experience Scheme for Post-secondary Students, including introducing more new elements/routes, developing province/municipal-based or district-based sister school clusters, and strengthening cultural exchange activities for Mainland and Hong Kong sister schools to enhance the Sister School Scheme and inject more impetus into exchanges between Mainland and Hong Kong schools.
On higher education, the Sun Yat-sen University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Macau signed a co-operation agreement in July this year. Other higher education institutions of the three places will be invited to join the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Higher Education Institution Alliance. The three places will announce the establishment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Higher Education Institution Alliance this year to strengthen co-operation in education and students exchange, etc. among the higher education institutions of the three places.
In addition, the Education Bureau expanded the scope of the Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme this year to cover students enrolling in the bachelor degree programmes of 155 designated Mainland institutions (including 21 higher education institutions in Guangdong Province). By the close of application at the end of August, some 1 900 new applications had been received for the 2016/17 academic year.
Co-operation in Tourism
To strengthen co-operation in protecting the consumer rights of visitors to Hong Kong, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau together with the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) have announced various measures to step up regulation on inbound Mainland tour groups. In December 2015, the TIC signed a co-operation agreement with the Tourism Administration of the Guangzhou Municipality, encouraging travel agents in Guangzhou and Hong Kong to join the Red Lists of "Quality and Honest Hong Kong Tours" and make joint efforts in promoting quality and honest tourism. Besides, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will continue to step up promotional efforts in the Mainland to publicise quality and honest tourism to promote Hong Kong's image as a hospitable city and increase Mainland (including Guangdong) tourists' confidence in Hong Kong.
Other Co-operation Areas
In addition to the above, the two sides have also made steady progress in co-operation in areas such as cross-boundary infrastructure, food safety, medical and health services, intellectual property and social welfare.
Co-operation Agreements Signing Ceremony
Nine co-operation agreements were signed between the two sides after the meeting, namely:
- "Letter of Intent on Guangdong-Hong Kong Co-operation in Participating in the Belt and Road Initiative";
- "Co-operation Arrangement between Guangdong and Hong Kong on Exchanges on Medical and Health Services";
- "Co-operation Agreement on Guangdong-Hong Kong Co-operation in Taking Forward the Development of China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone";
- "2016-2020 Co-operation Agreement between Guangdong and Hong Kong on Environmental Protection";
- "Co-operation Arrangement between Guangdong and Hong Kong on Food Safety Risk Exchange";
- "Co-operation Agreement between Guangdong and Hong Kong on Tourism";
- "Co-operation Agreement on Marine Accident Investigation";
- "Arrangement on Strengthening Health Quarantine Measures for Cross-boundary Travellers in Shenzhen and Hong Kong"; and
- "Co-operation Agreement between Guangdong and Hong Kong on the Work on Quality, Testing and Certification".
The 19th Plenary
The 19th Plenary was co-chaired by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Zhu Xiaodan. Officials of the HKSAR Government attending the meeting included the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam; the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam; the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim; the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man; the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan; the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang; the Acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Ms Florence Hui; the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Ms Christine Loh; the Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Godfrey Leung; the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Ms Chang King-yiu, and other relevant officials. At the meeting, Mrs Lam and the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr He Zhongyou, together with other officials of the two sides, reported the progress and achievements made since the 18th Plenary Meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference.
The Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, Ms Qiu Hong, and the Director-General of the Department of Exchange and Cooperation of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Qian Yibing, also attended the meeting as special guests.
Ends/Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 22:10
Issued at HKT 22:10