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Trade Fair Showcases South China Cooperation
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Collaboration under the "9+2" framework agreement is paying off, with 473 deals worth 241.2 billion yuan (US$29.1 billion) signed on the first day the First Pan-Pearl River Delta (P-PRD) Regional Economic and Trade Fair.

The three-day fair opened Wednesday in Guangzhou, the capital of south China's Guangdong Province.

The P-PRD 9+2 concept, proposed by Guangdong Party Secretary Zhang Dejiang last year, involves the nine provinces or autonomous regions of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Guangxi, and the two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macao.

Seven of the deals concluded yesterday involved government contracts worth 120.2 billion yuan (US$14.5 billion). The other 466 agreements, all between enterprises, are valued at 121 billion yuan (US$14.6 billion).

"The P-PRD concept is generating power at this fair, which is making tangible results from invisible and abstract integration strategies," said Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua.

Vice Premier Wu Yi said the fair promotes coordinated regional development and encourages economic and trade exchanges between Hong Kong, Macao and the mainland.

Between June 1 and 3, top officials from the 9+2 areas discussed collaboration and dates for events. The initial 9+2 agreement was signed on June 3, and the fair is the first event resulting from the pact.

The final framework agreement will be signed on the last day of the fair.

The fair covers more than 20,000 square meters, with 1,056 exhibition booths divided into 10 business sectors: infrastructure, industry and investment, commerce and trade, tourism, agriculture, labor, science, education and culture, information technology, and environmental protection and public health.

More than 15,000 people, mainly entrepreneurs and some officials, are attending the fair.

Eight conferences on a variety of economic and trade promotion themes are being held on the second and third days.

"The framework helps to stabilize cooperation and exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao, making it easy to maintain the SARs' prosperity," said Yao Huarong, director of the external cooperation division of the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Administration.

Yao's administration signed an agreement with the University of Macao on a training program for people in the traditional Chinese medicine industry.

(China Daily July 15, 2004)

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