The cooperation between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province will be consolidated to build the Pearl River Delta area in south China into one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world, said the leaders of the two sides in Hong Kong Tuesday.
The sixth Hong Kong-Guangdong cooperation joint conference was held here Tuesday, aiming to set up a new cooperation mechanism between the two sides.
It is the highest level of exchange between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province since the signing of Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, said Tung Chee Hwa, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, at a press conference after the meeting.
Tung said the meeting is progressive, pragmatic, and has achieved win-win results for the both sides.
He said the advance work of building a bridge connecting Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao will be started in the near future. The advance work includes study on the economic efficiency and design of the bridge, as well as environmental and hydrological analysis.
A coordinating group concerning the construction of the bridge will be set up between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. And then the report of the advance work will be submitted to the State Development and Reform Commission, said Tung.
The bridge is of great importance to the future development of Hong Kong. However, the time table for the construction of the bridge has not come out yet, Tung said.
Huang Huahua, governor of Guangdong Province, said the two sides have agreed to improve the cooperation mechanism, and a liaison office will be established soon. In addition, non-governmental cooperation will also be promoted through business visits, expositions and other channels.
"Within the framework of CEPA, the Pearl River Delta will become one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world in the coming one or two decades," said Huang.
He noted that Guangdong will become one of the most important manufacturing bases in the world, and Hong Kong is one of the financial, logistics and services centers. The two sides can achieve win-win development through close cooperation.
In the near future, Guangdong and Hong Kong will strengthen coordination in the fields including tourism, key infrastructure facilities, high value-added industries, customs, intellectual property right protection, reporting of infectious diseases, cultural and sports, said Huang.
He said Guangdong will promote Hong Kong's investment in Guangdong. Last year, 68.8 percent of foreign investment in Guangdong is coming through Hong Kong. Besides that, 70 percent of the province's imports and exports are passing through Hong Kong.
From July 28, citizens in Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Foshan cities in Guangdong Province were allowed to apply for visiting Hong Kong on an individual basis. The measure will be extended to Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, three key cities in the province with a large population, on Aug. 20. And the measure will cover the whole province from Jan. 1, 2004.
Huang said that travelers from mainland like shopping in Hong Kong. Last year about 6 million mainland travelers visited Hong Kong. The number is expected to exceed 10 million this year.
The economic growth in Guangdong needs the support of Hong Kong. And the cooperation between the two sides will help revive the economy and create more jobs in Hong Kong, Huang added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2003)