In his Report on the Work of the Government, Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, made it clear that the Central Government will “support Hong Kong and Macao in integrating their own development into the overall development of the country.”
For Hong Kong, proactively participating in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is the greatest opportunity to integrate into the national development. With details on the development plan to be announced soon, the Hong Kong SAR Government and the business community should strive to become the first mover by strengthening innovation, encouraging entrepreneurship and facilitating employment so as to enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness.
The GBA involves two systems, three currencies, three legal systems and three customs territories. As such, to foster the flow of people, goods, capital and information within the area, relevant authorities in Hong Kong, Macao and the Mainland have to coordinate and integrate their policies to achieve breakthroughs on different fronts.
In a proposal I put forward at the CPPCC this year, emphasis was placed on the support policies for the GBA development.
On infrastructure, I proposed the establishment of a transport coordination unit to facilitate a high-level coordination of the mismatched development of ports and airports in the region, with a view to promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and avoiding unhealthy competition. On the flow of talent, tax procedures should be streamlined to allow cross-border professionals in the region to pay tax only in their places of residence.
To promote information flow within the region, I proposed that all call and data roaming charges in the GBA should be waived. Cooperation in financial services should also be enhanced on all fronts by leveraging on the sound, open and transparent financial system of Hong Kong to encourage Mainland enterprises to invest in the city. Our professional services can help them strengthen their competitiveness.
Indeed, as the country is undergoing rapid development, people are attaching increasing importance to the quality of life and food safety. As President Xi Jinping noted: “Clear waters and green mountains are as good as mountains of gold and silver.”
To become one of the world’s leading bay areas, it is imperative that the GBA steps up its efforts in developing various aspects such as education, healthcare, environment, sports and culture.
With the development plan for the GBA basically completed, the National Development and Reform Commission will expedite relevant major infrastructure projects. If the business sector in Hong Kong acts quickly, there will be plenty of opportunities ahead. I hope both governments will set up a coordination mechanism to address issues arising in the course of development.
With collaborative efforts, together we will build the GBA into a quality area for living, work and leisure.