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Framework agreement for cooperation forged

By OSWALD CHAN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-02 06:49

Framework agreement for cooperation forged

President Xi Jinping witnesses the signing ceremony of the Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation in the Development of the Bay Area on Saturday. The agreement's four signatories are (from left, front row) Governor of Guangdong province Ma Xingrui; the National Development and Reform Commission Chairman He Lifeng; Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Macao Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on. Photo provided to China Daily.

Witnessed by President Xi Jinping during his three-day visit to Hong Kong, the Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation in the Development of the Bay Area was signed in the city on Saturday.

The National Development and Reform Commission Chairman He Lifeng; Governor of the People's Government of Guangdong Province Ma Xingrui; Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Macao Chief Executive Chui Sai-on signed the framework agreement.

The framework agreement establishes key cooperation areas. These includes promoting infrastructure connectivity; enhancing the level of market integration; building a global technology and innovation hub; building a system of modern industries through coordinated development; jointly building a quality living circle to provide an ideal place for living, working and traveling; cultivating new strengths in international cooperation and supporting the establishment of major cooperation platforms, according to a government statement on Saturday.

The agreement's four signatories agree to improve the coordination mechanism and convene annual consultation meetings to coordinate and resolve major problems and issues of cooperation arising from development of the bay area.

The four parties will also put forward annual work plans to take forward development of the bay area. They will deliver a concerted effort in their implementation once a consensus has been reached amongst the four parties and relevant mainland authorities.

Premier Li Keqiang, in the this year's Government Work Report, explicitly expressed the need to promote closer cooperation between the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, draw up a development plan for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, give full play to the distinctive strengths of Hong Kong and Macao, and elevate their positions and roles in the nation's economic development and opening-up.

The Greater Bay Area-covering less than 1 percent of the country's land area and home to less than 5 percent of the population-includes Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong province-Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhongshan, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Jiangmen.

The framework agreement also strives to cement Hong Kong's hub status in various aspects, including consolidating and enhancing Hong Kong's status as an international financial, transport and trade center; strengthening its status as a global offshore renminbi business hub and an international asset management center; promoting the development of Hong Kong's professional services and innovation and technology industries; and establishing a center for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.

"With relatively higher market sophistication, the advantage of 'one country two systems', and competitiveness in building up clusters of production and industries, the economic aggregate of Greater Bay Area is poised to exceed the bay area of Tokyo to become the world's largest economic cluster area by 2025," predicted Yue Yi, vice-chairman and chief executive at Bank of China (Hong Kong).

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