We'll help HK firms get better treatment: Lam
Updated: 2015-01-31 06:00
By Chai Hua in Shenzhen(HK Edition)
Shenzhen has offered various preferential policies to attract Hong Kong enterprises as well as innovative talent to the Qianhai special economic zone. Brent Lewin / Bloomberg
Hong Kong and Shenzhen have pledged closer economic cooperation, with Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor promising that the SAR would strive for more preferential and convenient trading conditions for Hong Kong companies operating in the Qianhai special economic zone.
Hong Kong, she said, will help SAR enterprises secure national treatment and personnel qualification recognition at Qianhai.
Lam made the remarks while co-chairing the 2015 Hong Kong/Shenzhen Cooperation Meeting with the Mayor of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Xu Qin, in Shenzhen on Friday.
Both sides reviewed their spheres of cooperation in 2014 as well as development directions for the coming year, including cooperation in Qianhai and further economic integration against the backdrop of the "One Belt, One Road" initiative proposed by the central government.
The Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone, as a key cooperation project between Guangdong province and Hong Kong SAR, has been included in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan.
So far, more than 1,000 Hong Kong companies have registered to operate in the Qianhai special zone with total capital reaching 180 billion yuan ($28.8 billion).
"The State has granted 22 preferential policies to the Qianhai special zone and 21 of these have been implemented so far. In addition, Qianhai's advantage will double as it can also enjoy the innovative policies of the Guangdong Free Trade Zone (FTZ),"Xu said.
Qianhai and Shenzhen's Shekou district have been included in the new Guangdong FTZ along with Nansha Island in Guangzhou, Hengqin in Zhuhai and the Baiyun Airport Comprehensive Bonded Zone.
Lam said financial cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is bound to strengthen, saying she expects cross-border renminbi loans to rise and more Hong Kong financial institutions starting business in Shenzhen.
By the end of last year, Qianhai had accumulated a total of 82.6 billion yuan in cross-border loans.
Areas of cooperation between the two cities are expected to be stepped up as the country pushes ahead in promoting regional development, with the focus on the "One Belt, One Road" strategy under China's Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road plans.
"Shenzhen and Hong Kong should cooperate in building a bay area economic zone in the Silk Road Economic Belt because we have the regional advantage and economic strength," Xu said.
Shenzhen is developing the new bay area economic zone across Qianhai Bay, Shenzhen Bay, Dapeng Bay and Daya Bay. The zone is expected to become the city's new development strategy to support the construction of the new Silk Road in Shenzhen.
According to Xu, the economic aggregate of the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao bay area zones has exceeded $1.4 trillion and the total volume of trade is more than $1.8 trillion.
Lam said she hopes to learn more about the bay area economic zone in order to explore the areas in which Guangdong and Hong Kong can cooperate. She said Hong Kong's expertise in the finance, logistics and professional services sectors will serve the development of the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
(HK Edition 01/31/2015 page8)