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Fujian and Hong Kong Discuss Closer Ties

Representatives from the Fujian provincial government met officials from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) about allowing its residents to travel to the island on an individual basis, as the two places agreed yesterday on a series of measures to strengthen economic ties.

Welcoming the extension of the opening-up of the tourism market on the Chinese mainland, the government of the HKSAR pledged to improve various facilities and promote individual tours from Fujian.

The agreement was announced after a meeting between Fujian Governor Lu Zhangong, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Henry Tang and other officials from the two areas.

Tang is in Fujian to attend "Fujian-Hong Kong Week," leading the first business mission from Hong Kong to the mainland after the mainland-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) was signed in June. The event was launched last Friday.

The two sides pledged to push forward co-operation in all fields, especially in service sectors as laid out in the CEPA.

The SAR government will encourage Hong Kong firms in sectors such as financial services, insurance, professional services and logistics to set up branches or offices in Fujian.

Fujian will conversely encourage qualified enterprises to list on Hong Kong's stock exchange and to set up offices in the SAR.

Great potential exists in the opening-up of the market as Fujian has a population of about 34 million and about 15 per cent of Hong Kong's population is of Fujian origin.

Seven cities in Guangdong Province are already allowed to travel to Hong Kong without having to join tour groups, to be followed by Beijing and Shanghai next month.

(China Daily August 27, 2003)

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