For Immediate Release
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) welcomes the proposed co-location arrangement for the Hong Kong Section of the Express Rail Link, announced by the Government today. Integrating seamlessly with the Mainland’s national high-speed rail network will be an important breakthrough and critical to Hong Kong’s strategic future. It will significantly enhance connectivity with Mainland cities, slash travel times, and bring huge economic as well as social benefits for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
For the Express Rail link to fulfil its potential, efficiency and speed are essential. Any arrangements which would require passengers to get off the train to pass through customs formalities would be pointless, cumbersome and unacceptable. Pre-clearance is common in Europe and North America to facilitate passenger flow between different sovereign countries, so there is no logical reason why such a co-location arrangement could not operate smoothly within the same sovereign country between Hong Kong and Guangdong. A similar arrangement has been in operation at the Shenzhen Bay border-crossing for the past 10 years, affording people hassle-free travel between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
“With the Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link targeted to open by 1 September 2018, we do not have much time left to implement the co-location arrangement. We urge the Government to complete the legal requirements expeditiously to meet this target, and also for LegCo to support this crucial piece of the plan. Otherwise, we definitely will miss the train of economic growth,” said Chamber Chairman Stephen Ng.
“Opponents will always find a hundred technical ‘reasons’ to tell us why something cannot be done. In the true ‘Can do!’ spirit that Hong Kong is best known for, our mission is to navigate these so-called reasons to find a way to get it done,” added Ng.
The national high-speed rail network is now over 20,000 km long. Once the Hong Kong Express Link is operational, the running of direct trains from West Kowloon Station to cities in the Mainland will save people time, improve productivity and stimulate growth in trade, tourism and professional services, and bring enormous economic and social benefits.
“Therefore, ensuring our Express Rail Link connects seamlessly to the national network and beyond will bring so many benefits for Hong Kong that we really cannot afford to miss this golden opportunity,” said Ng.
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