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Twin-city bond to benefit nation
( 2003-10-28 08:51) (China Daily)

Shanghai and Hong Kong agreed Monday to grasp the opportunities brought about by a free-trade deal to strengthen partnership in eight major sectors ranging from airport management to financial services.

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng (left) and Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa hold hands to show their firm bond of co-operation at a news conference October 27, 2003. The two cities have identified eight areas in which they will strengthen their economic and trade partnership. [newsphoto.com.cn]

Such co-operation will not only create a win-win situation but also "make significant contribution to the country's continuous economic development," Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said Monday after meeting with visiting Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng.

He noted that while a closer bond will benefit Hong Kong and Shanghai, it will boost too co-operation between the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta, the two most booming economic powerhouses of China.

The two leaders' joint announcement of teamwork in the eight areas came after they held the first Hong Kong-Shanghai Economic and Trade Co-operation Conference.

Airport authorities of the two cities signed a letter of intent Monday calling for both sides to share management experience in safety, security and airport franchises, among other aspects.

It also states that the two airports will co-operate in airport-business management such as retail, food and beverages, and advertising.

They will, in conjunction with other mainland airport hubs, build a platform for the transfer of experience to promote the modernization in airport management throughout the country.

Hong Kong Airport Authority Chairman Victor Fung said the letter is a significant milestone in extending the scope of economic and trade co-operation. "It will align Shanghai's aviation industry with the international market, enlarging the marketplace and enhancing its status as an aviation hub," he said.

Monday's talks between officials of China's two most economically advanced cities was featured by a greater government role in promoting economic ties and produced new concepts and mechanisms for a comprehensive partnership.

Describing Hong Kong-Shanghai economic co-operation as mutually beneficial, Tung said room for such efforts will expand under the mainland-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), which was signed last June and takes effect next year.

The two sides Monday agreed to set up a twin-city mechanism, which will be led by Tung and Han and supervised by Hong Kong Financial Secretary Henry Tang and Shanghai Vice-Mayor Jiang Sixian.

"I believe our co-operation will soon bear fruit," Han said.

Regarding the fact that Hong Kong and Shanghai are widely viewed as competitors, both Tung and Han said co-operation and common development should be the main themes in the relations of the two places with their complementary strengths.

Hong Kong, for example, can supply quality professionals for Shanghai's fast-growing economy; while Shanghai will provide more opportunities for Hong Kong investors as it further opens up various sectors, Han said. Healthy and orderly competition will provide dynamics to the economic teamwork, they agreed.

To promote talent exchange, Shanghai government will set up an advisory agency and a sub-office in Hong Kong to advise Hong Kong professionals on arrangements for working in Shanghai.

 The twin cities' co-operation in eight areas

  • Development and management of airports and ports: To co-operate between Hong Kong Airport Authority and Shanghai Airport Co Ltd and enhance the competitiveness of both
  • Logistics: To work on measures related to the implementation of CEPA provisions on logistics, storage and warehouses, and freight-forwarding services
  • Shanghai Expo 2010: To support the preparation of the gala in aspects of capital financing, infrastructure construction and design, and distribution of souvenirs
  • Travel and exhibitions: To promote flow of visitors and develop diversified tourism products
  • Investment and trade: To encourage firms to open and expand businesses in Shanghai and set up regional headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Education, public health and sports: To promote academic exchange, Chinese medicine products development, and collaboration in sports industries
  • Financial services: To strengthen exchanges between professionals of securities, futures, banking and accounting sectors.
  • Exchange of talent: To formulate a legal-service-co-operation mechanism and set up an advisory agency in Hong Kong to provide advice to Hongkongers who want to work in Shanghai.
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