GUANGZHOU – Vice-Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Hong Kong is expected to further expand economic ties between Guangdong province and the special administrative region, and help improve cooperation between the two regions.
In addition to announcing a series of new measures from the central government to support the development of Hong Kong, Li urged the full play of Hong Kong’s important role in cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
At a forum held in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Li also urged the strengthening of Guangdong’s network with Hong Kong to supply the bordering special administrative region with water, electricity and gas.
Guangdong, one of the country’s economic powerhouses, is ready for the expansion of ties with Hong Kong, which is playing an increasingly important role in Guangdong’s economic construction.
Investment from Hong Kong represents about 75 percent of Guangdong’s overseas investment, and Hong Kong is the province’s biggest trading partner.
Zhao Yufang, vice-governor of Guangdong, said the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) requires Guangdong to expand cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao.
“And Guangdong would certainly redouble efforts to develop the relationship between Guangdong and Hong Kong in the following years, benefiting both sides,” Zhao said.
Zhao particularly expects to expand cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao in logistics, finance, high-tech and service industries and join hands with the two special administrative regions to build a world-class metropolitan cluster in the southern Chinese region.
Lin Jiang, a professor at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said Guangdong would have to strengthen its cooperation with Hong Kong if the province expects to keep its status as an economic powerhouse in the country in the following three decades.
“Expanding cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao will be the secret key for Guangdong’s future economic growth,” Lin said.
Cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao not only helps Guangdong by increasing its international competitiveness, but the province has also been upgrading its processing and manufacturing industries, he added.
Guangdong and Hong Kong have established a very close relationship since the country introduced the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s.
The two regions established the Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference to strengthen economic ties in 1998. Senior government officials from both sides meet annually to expand cooperation and mutual development.
And last year, Guangdong signed a framework agreement on cooperation in Beijing to develop economic ties further.
The agreement was signed by Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua and Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang in the Great Hall of the People in the presence of Vice-President Xi Jinping.