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US$29b deals signed on 1st day of PPRD fair
By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-15 00:22

Collaboration under the "9+2" framework agreement is yielding fruit, with the First Pan-Pearl River Delta (P-PRD) Regional Economic and Trade Fair kicking off Wednesday in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province.

A total of 473 deals worth 241.2 billion yuan (US$29.1 billion) were signed on the first day of the fair, which will run three days.

Among those signed are seven contracts promoted by government officials, and another 466 agreements between enterprises, which equal 120.2 billion yuan (US$14.5 billion) and 121 billion yuan (US$14.6 billion) respectively.

Visitors try an automatic border inspection system at the Guangzhou fair Wednesday. [newsphoto]
"The PPRD concept is generating power at this fair, which is turning invisible and abstract integration strategies into concrete results," said the Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua in a interview with China Daily.

Wu Yi, vice-premier of the State Council, praised the opening of the fair, saying it promotes the regional co-ordination development plan, and encourages economic and trade exchanges between Hong Kong and Macao with the mainland.

Responding to the 9--2 agreement signed on June 3 by officials from 11 regions, the fair is the first event for the PPRD members to meet face to face since the ink dried on the document.

The PPRD concept, proposed by Guangdong provincial Party Secretary Zhang Dejiang last year, involves the provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and the two SARs, or 9+2.

Between June 1 and 3, chief officials from the 11 administrative regions discussed possible collaboration areas and forum dates .

The final framework agreement will be signed on the last day of the forum in Guangzhou.

The fair covers more than 20,000 square metres with 1,056 exhibiting booths on display and features ten business sectors.

The displayed sectors include infrastructure, industry and investment, commerce and trade, tourism, agriculture, labour, science, education and culture, information technology, environmental protection and public health.

More than 15,000 people, mainly consisting of entrepreneurs and some officials, attended the fair.

It features eight conferences with different economic and trade promotion themes on the latter two days, while the signing contract ceremony was held on the first day.

All the deals signed are based on a five-month long investigation and negotiation trip between delegates from the 9+2 members, between March and to the end of June.

"The framework helps to stabilize the co-operation and exchanges between the mainland with Hong Kong and Macao, making it easy to maintain the SARs's greater prosperity," said Yao Huarong, director of the external co-operation division, under the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Administration.

Yao, represented his administration, signed an agreement with the University of Macao, on a traditional Chinese medicine administration talents training plan.

The forums will rotate between participating members. The second scheduled PPRD forum and fair will be held in Southwest China's Sichuan Province next year.

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