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CE hails Qianhai, Hengqin plans

Chief Executive Carrie Lam today welcomed the central government’s promulgation of plans relating to Qianhai and Hengqin development.   The Plan for Comprehensive Deepening Reform & Opening Up of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone was announced today, while the Plan for the Development of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Co-operation Zone in Hengqin was released yesterday.   Mrs Lam expressed hope that with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s policy support, various sectors of the community will seize the opportunities brought about by the two plans and join hands in taking forward the development of the Greater Bay Area.   Following President Xi Jinping’s steer on relying on Hong Kong, serving the Mainland and opening up to the world, Qianhai, positioned as the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone, has attracted many Hong Kong enterprises, Mrs Lam said.   “The promulgation of the Qianhai plan will foster Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operation at a higher level under which the two cities can serve as dual engines to drive development in the Greater Bay Area.   “The Qianhai plan has once again demonstrated the country’s key strategic planning, under which the development of the Greater Bay Area would enrich the implementation of ‘one country, two systems’, deepen reform and expand the scope of opening up, and enhance the level of co-operation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.”   She explained that with modern service industries as an entry point, Hong Kong will further promote Guangdong-Hong Kong co-operation as well as Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operation, with a view to enhancing the city’s integration into the overall national development.   “Not only does the Qianhai plan give full play to Hong Kong’s long-held advantages in high-end professional services, and elevate the function of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone, but it also promotes the long-term development for Hong Kong professional services.”   According to the Qianhai plan, the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone’s area will increase significantly from 14.92 sq km to 120.56 sq km. It also stresses the promotion of high-level opening up in Qianhai, the fostering of innovative development of modern service industries, and the acceleration of the building of a system of modern services that is compatible with Hong Kong and international standards.   Hong Kong will capitalise on its own advantages to assist in promoting the full liberalisation of trade in services in Qianhai, greater mutual access of the financial markets and a higher level of opening up in legal matters, thereby expanding the room for development for professionals and enterprises in Hong Kong.   Mrs Lam stressed that in order to expedite high-level co-operation and identify more concrete measures for implementation in Qianhai, the governments of the Hong Kong SAR and Shenzhen have agreed to set up a high-level working group. The Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs is the convenor on the Hong Kong side.   Moreover, the Hong Kong SAR Government will discuss with relevant central ministries to achieve further liberalisation of trade in services as set out in the Qianhai plan through the Mainland & Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.   It is also prepared to offer views and co-ordinate efforts to complement the expansion of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone in areas of financial services, innovation and technology, legal services and business environment.   Meanwhile, Mrs Lam pointed out that the Plan for the Development of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Co-operation Zone in Hengqin will create favourable conditions for the diversified development of Macau and provide facilitating measures for the development of its industries.   “Since the commissioning of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai have become much closer to each other, giving rise to favourable conditions for Hong Kong’s participation in the development of Hengqin.   “With the support of the central government and the Guangdong Provincial Government, the Airport Authority Hong Kong is pursuing closer co-operation between the airports of Hong Kong and Zhuhai to enhance their air cargo and logistics capabilities, which will also contribute to the development of industries in Hengqin.   “I am sure Hong Kong’s business and professional sectors will also feel excited about this development,” Mrs Lam said.   She added that the Hong Kong SAR Government will explore how the city can provide support for and contribute to the implementation of the Hengqin plan through the existing co-operation mechanism with Macau.
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