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HK, Guangdong Expand Cooperation at Plenary Session

Hong Kong and Guangdong agreed to expand cooperation in areas including food safety and cross-border freight at the Eighth Plenary Session of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The conference was attended by Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua and Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Donald Tsang, according to a government press release.

An agreement to establish a notification system to enhance food safety was reached between the two sides. Tsang was quoted as saying that he and Huang reviewed the progress of cooperation over the past year and discussed the way forward.

According to Tsang, both sides will designate officers to make enquires and notify the other side of issues related to the inspection and quarantine of animals and plants, and food safety. They will organize meetings to exchange views on major food incidents and policies.

Also discussed during the conference were issues relating to cross-border transport and logistics. Tsang said the "one-truck one-driver" rule will be relaxed, and the duration of the cross-boundary joint venture contract of freight vehicles will be extended from three years to six. The "one-truck one-driver" rule states that each container truck must have a designated driver authorized to drive the vehicle upon payment of a monthly license fee.

Both sides are working towards the completion of the Shenzhen Bay Control Point for the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor and the control point for the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line.

Co-location arrangements like clearance services for both sides will be implemented at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point to provide greater convenience to travelers and drivers, Tsang said.

The two sides will also implement the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan to achieve emission reduction targets by 2010. The air-quality monitoring network has already passed the acceptance test.

Both sides agreed to make preparatory arrangements for a daily Regional Air Quality Index report by year's end.

On the preparatory work for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Tsang said Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao have reached a consensus on the landing points.

The feasibility study on the project has been largely completed, he said, adding that the findings are being assessed by the three parties. Also under discussion is the next step to be taken with a view to expediting the project.

(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2005)

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