Hong Kong must maintain and strengthen its status as an international transport hub and maritime center by improving infrastructure networks with other places in the Pan-Pearl River Delta (PPRD), Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam said Friday.
Speaking at the PPRD Development & Reform Commissions' directors' meeting, Lam said Hong Kong will step up its efforts in taking forward the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project and the express rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
He added Hong Kong will encourage enterprises in the region to set up branch offices and to list in Hong Kong with a view to promoting its financial services and status as an international financial center.
Hong Kong will also expand step-by-step in the "9+2" region. In particular, Hong Kong's professional services will be encouraged to set up in the mainland in accordance with the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.
The PPRD region comprises nine Mainland provinces -- Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan -- and Hong Kong and Macao (9+2).
"To enhance our understanding of the development of the PPRD, the government has launched a series of visits to various PPRD provinces/regions in the past few months. By doing so, we are also strengthening ties and paving the way for closer cooperation in the future," Lam said.
Progress in regional cooperation is being made, following the signing of the "PPRD Regional Cooperation Framework Agreement" last June by Hong Kong and its mainland counterparts in the PPRD region.
As concrete measures are rolled out, there will be greater development opportunities for the whole "9+2" region, Lam said.
At the invitation of the Hong Kong government, representatives from the PPRD General Co-ordination Offices of the nine provinces and Macao embarked on a six-day visit to Hong Kong. The visit will conclude Saturday.
The delegation met with representatives from government bureaus/departments and organizations to strengthen ties and prepare for future cooperation. They also visited container and airport terminals to enhance their understanding of Hong Kong's development.
(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2005)