CE continues visit in Beijing (with photos/videos)

     The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, today (March 15) continued his visit in Beijing, where he called on the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC), and the Ministry of Commerce to exchange views with the respective leaders on issues of common interest. The Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Erick Tsang Kwok-wai; the Secretary for Security, Mr Tang Ping-keung; the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau; the Secretary for Health, Professor Lo Chung-mau; and the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong, also joined relevant meetings.
     In the morning, Mr Lee met with the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Wang Zhigang, and witnessed the Signing Ceremony of the "Arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Expediting the Development of Hong Kong into an International Innovation and Technology Centre" (the Arrangement).
     Addressing the ceremony, Mr Wang Zhigang said that with the strong support from the Central Government and the active promotion of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, the development of innovation and technology (I&T) in Hong Kong has been gaining momentum while the I&T ecosystem is vibrant and lively. The HKSAR Government promulgated the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint last year to establish a clear development path and formulate strategic planning for Hong Kong's I&T development over the next five to 10 years, fully demonstrating Hong Kong's commitment in taking up the responsibility for contributing its wisdom and strength to the country's technology development.
     Mr Lee expressed his gratitude to the country for its strong support for Hong Kong's development as an international I&T hub, saying that the signing of the Arrangement marks a new chapter for the science and technology co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong. He pointed out that the National 14th Five-Year Plan expressly supports Hong Kong's development as an international I&T centre and has, for the first time, included the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Loop as one of the major platforms of co-operation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The HKSAR Government will spare no efforts in attracting strategic industries and scientific research talents and promoting I&T education, with a view to contributing to Hong Kong's advancement into an international I&T hub.
     Mr Lee then called on the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and met with the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr Hu Heping. Mr Hu said that since the new-term HKSAR Government took office, it has been proactively integrating into national development and dovetailing with the National 14th Five-Year Plan. The establishment of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau by the HKSAR Government has helped in mapping out strategies for developing Hong Kong as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange.
     Mr Lee said that the HKSAR Government has set out specific strategies for the implementation of the National 14th Five-Year Plan to support Hong Kong's positioning as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. Hong Kong will make use of its institutional advantages under "one country, two systems" to fully leverage its close connections with the world, as well as its compatibility and integration of Eastern and Western culture, and contribute to the strengthening of international communication capacity of the country, promoting Chinese culture, and telling the good stories of China and Hong Kong.
     In the afternoon, Mr Lee met with the Minister of the GACC, Mr Yu Jianhua. Mr Yu pointed out that the GACC has maintained good co-operation with the HKSAR Government, and has long been working closely with the Security Bureau, the Environment and Ecology Bureau, and the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department in various areas with successes achieved, such as facilitation measures for immigration clearance, combating smuggling activities, opening of boundary control points and inspection and quarantine arrangements.
     Mr Lee expressed his gratitude to the GACC for its strong support and co-ordination in the smooth implementation of the full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland, making great contributions to the normal flow of people between and the economic recovery of the two places. He pointed out that the Hong Kong Customs had shown full support to the Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity (3S) Initiative, with smart construction as core of the initiative as launched by the GACC, and will commence co-operation with the GACC in the 3S Initiative, promoting cross-border collaboration between the Mainland and Hong Kong Customs and enhancing connectivity. Mr Lee and Mr Yu also exchanged views on co-operation issues, including combating cross-boundary smuggling activities and risk management during the meeting.
     Mr Lee then called on the Ministry of Commerce and met with the Minister of Commerce, Mr Wang Wentao. Noting that Hong Kong has started a new chapter from stability to prosperity, Mr Wang Wentao said he was delighted that the HKSAR Government actively aligns with national development strategies and spares no efforts in pursuing economic growth, enhancing Hong Kong international competitiveness and exploring new development opportunities.
     Mr Lee said the HKSAR Government had formally lodged the accession request for joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last year and received enthusiastic support from the Ministry of Commerce. He thanked the country for its continuous support on Hong Kong's application to join the RCEP, saying that the HKSAR Government will continue to seek to start negotiations and discussions with the member economies of RCEP early and strive to forge a consensus among all sectors and places on supporting Hong Kong to join the RCEP.
     Mr Lee pointed out that Hong Kong will continue to actively dovetail with the Ministry of Commerce's move in building a single free trade zone between the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, and advancing trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation between the Mainland and Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government will actively echo and co-operate with the Ministry of Commerce in its goal of promoting consumption and inward investment, and jointly inject new impetus into the country's trade development. He also looks forward to leading a delegation to Shanghai to attend the Sixth China International Import Expo in November this year.
     Mr Lee will continue his visit in Beijing tomorrow (March 16) and call on different central ministries and institutions.     

Ends/Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 22:49