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Faster Travel Between HK and Guangzhou Under Study
Travel between Hong Kong and Guangzhou will consume less than one hour, Tung Chee Hwa, Hong Kong's chief executive, revealed the proposal in Hong Kong Monday.

"We are also looking at the feasibility of building a regional express line linking Hong Kong with Guangzhou via Shenzhen within one hour by rail," Tung told a press conference under the title of "Pearl River Delta: Forging a New Force".

The conference was held to promote further cooperation between Hong Kong and Chinese mainland's Pearl River Delta (PRD) where a predominant proportion of Hong Kong people can trace their roots back.

PRD is recognized as one of the largest manufacturing and production centers in the world, with a consumer market of over 40 million people. Hong Kong and the PRD together have a population of over 50 million. The combined GDP of the two places today is in the area of 250 billion US dollars, according to Tung.

"If the economies continue to grow at the same rate, as in the past, in 10 years' time the combined GDP will be close to 500 billion US dollars," he said.

He said the Hong Kong government would try to create a right environment and build physical infrastructure for all this to happen.

"We have actually streamlined border clearance procedures. The number of passengers cleared within 15 minutes at Lowu (customs) has increased from 84 percent to 87 percent since October 2001, despite an increase of daily passengers from 240,000 to 270,000," said Tung.

About 20 percent of container trucks can now make more than two single trips a day at Lok Ma Chau (customs). The completion of Western Corridor (customs) in 2006 and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line (customs) in 2007 will vastly improve the cross-boundary capacity of Hong Kong and Shenzhen and therefore the PRD.

Further measures are being looked including the co-location of customs and immigration services, and enhancing 24-hour customs clearance service for goods vehicles. The Airport Authority is studying the feasibility of developing express cargo service and passenger ferry service connecting major ports in the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong International Airport, the Chief Executive said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 8, 2002)

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