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Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 22:46

HK and Guangdong develop closer partnerships

By Shadow Li

HK and Guangdong develop closer partnerships
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (left) shakes hands with Hu Chunhua, Party chief of Guangdong province, before the 19th Plenary of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference in Guangzhou on Wednesday. (GIS)

Hong Kong and Guangdong province signed nine agreements on Wednesday, marking a new level of closer partnerships in areas including health, environmental protection, tourism, education, food safety and the Belt and Road Initiative.

The agreements came after the 19th Plenary of Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference, held in Guangzhou.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying led a delegation of Hong Kong officials – including Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and nine bureau heads – to attend the meeting.

Leung said Hong Kong and Guangdong will boost cooperation in the coming year under the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Leung noted that 2017 is a critical year in the nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan. The central government has attached great importance to cooperation between Hong Kong and Guangdong.

He said Guangdong province was Hong Kong’s closest partner in social and economic cooperation.

Leung said the two regions agreed to make more efforts to strengthen ties in technology and innovation, youth cooperation and education.

Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan, who co-chaired the meeting, told reporters the nine agreements show cooperation between Hong Kong and Guangdong is progressing steadily. This was a good start for both sides to engage in strategies underlined in the 13th Five-Year Plan.

Zhu said that a platform for creative industry will be set up to encourage more Hong Kong people, especially young people, to start businesses in Guangdong.

Figures from the SAR government showed that by July 2016, HK$830 million from the Innovation and Technology Fund has been invested in 246 innovative programs under Hong Kong-Guangdong partnerships.

Apart from that, more exchange programs and tours, for environmental protection and intangible culture heritage, will be organized to strengthen mutual understanding of young people from both places.

In the 2016-17 financial year, the SAR government will sponsor 95 internship programs and 265 exchange tours. It will send 3,700 Hong Kong young people to do internships on the mainland and another 16,600 on exchange tours to the mainland.

An alliance of higher education institutions in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao will be established this year to better facilitate communication about student exchanges, technology transfer and commercialization.

To solve the issue of refuse washed up on Hong Kong’s shores this summer, authorities in the SAR and Guangdong have set up a monitoring mechanism. This is to boost joint efforts to protect the marine environment.

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