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$145m aid for investors in Guangdong
By Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-01-22 07:43

Hong Kong investors in firms based in Guangdong will benefit from a 1 billion yuan ($145 million) fund, Vice-Governor Wan Qingliang said yesterday.

The province will also cut administration and social insurance charges to help businesses during the financial crisis, he said.

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The announcement followed the 12th meeting of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference to discuss the government-approved blueprint for the Pearl River Delta.

The two governments met to agree the setting up of a team to implement plans set out in the Framework for Development and Reform Planning for the Pearl River Delta Region, as well as a group to promote better financial cooperation.

They also attached significant importance to the difficult situation Hong Kong businesses face in Guangdong.

"We will lower administrative charges and social insurance charges for Hong Kong investors, and will appropriate 1 billion yuan to help those who have difficulties in financing," Wan said.

Guangdong will also introduce policies to promote the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with Hong Kong, he said.

The new implementation team will focus on four areas: the finance sector, service industry, infrastructure facilities and urban planning, and innovation and technology.

Hong Kong Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang said it will coordinate all strategies and targets, as well as conduct regular progress reviews.

It will begin work on the Hong Kong-Macao Bridge this year, provide support for small and medium-sized businesses, and accelerate the development of Hong Kong-invested service firms, he said.

Meanwhile, Shenzhen and Hong Kong will continue to cooperate on information sharing and resource development, and will implement a plan to establish world-class universities and research institutes in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, Tang said.

Produced by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Framework for Development and Reform Planning for the Pearl River Delta Region is a comprehensive plan for the area, and includes industrial development, technology innovation, environmental protection and social welfare. The plan includes cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao.

The delta, together with Hong Kong and Macao, will be forged into "a globally competitive" and "vigorous area in the Asia-Pacific region" by 2020, according to the plan.

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