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Southern alliance rises on the Pearl
By Li Wenfang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-03 22:34

Top officials of 11 administrative regions in southern China signed a framework agreement Thursday, vowing to strengthen economic co-operation across the board in the largest economic bloc in China.

The regions, which form what is called Pan-Pearl River Delta (Pan-PRD) region, agreed on closer ties in ten various business sectors. The include: infrastructure, industry and investment, commerce and trade, tourism, agriculture, labour, science, education and culture, information technology, environmental protection and public health.

signing on the agreement [newsphoto]

The agreement was reached Thursday after the first Pan-PRD Regional Co-operation and Development Forum. It was held over three days in Hong Kong, Macao, and concluded Thursday in Guangzhou in the capital of Guangdong Province.

The Pan-PRD concept, proposed by Guangdong Provincial Party Secretary Zhang Dejiang last year, encompasses the provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and the two SARs.

Closer co-operation in the pan-delta region has become a common goal of the 11 regions, which are also known as "9--2" amid the economic globalization and accelerated regional co-operation, the agreement states

With the great support from related agencies of the central government, the co-operation is also in line with the strategy set by the authorities for promoting coordinated regional development in China, said Zhong Yangsheng, director of the forum's organizing committee.

The collaboration strategically important to greater prosperity for Hong Kong and Macao, and to further opening-up of mainland provinces, with the economic strength and competitiveness of the pan-delta region as a whole benefiting, the agreement says.

Brewed from the Greater PRD concept, which covers Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, the pan-delta accord is also an answer to the call for accelerated implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) pacts between the mainland and the two SARs, said Huang Huahua, governor of Guangdong, at a press conference.

Top officials of the 11 regions all pledged to do their part in pushing forward Pan-PRD co-operation at the press conference.

With a principle of "market leads, government facilitates," the co-operation is meant to bring complementary advantages to member regions into full play and to achieve a so-called "win-win" situation, the agreement says.

Under the principle of openness and fairness, it also calls for the breakdown of trade barriers among regions.

The agreement will feature annual joint conference of the administrative chiefs of the member regions, co-ordination among secretary-generals of the governments of the mainland regions and related officials from the SARs, with working offices to be established in the governments of 11 regions.

The 11 regions also have agreed a Pan-delta forum and the associated Pan-delta economic and trade fair will be held every year in rotation among the areas.

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