Trade relations between the Mainland and Hong Kong
Initiatives to foster trade relations
Since the reunification in 1997, communications between Hong Kong and the Mainland have become much more frequent in various aspects, especially in trade and commerce. Apart from being Hong Kong's largest trading partner and major investor, the Mainland is also the largest market and the major source of Hong Kong's re-export goods. In recent years, the launching of various major initiatives by the Central People's Government (CPG), such as the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), has greatly strengthened linkage between Hong Kong and the Mainland in many aspects. Hong Kong has also been actively developing regional co-operation initiatives with the provincial governments and municipalities of the Mainland to further enhance communication and co-operation between the places concerned and Hong Kong.
Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference
The Governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Guangdong Province jointly set up the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference (HKGDCJC) in 1998 to study and co-ordinate issues of mutual interest, and to facilitate co-operation and exchanges of both sides.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) promulgated in January 2009 the "Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (PRD)" (the Outline), which elevates the development of the PRD Region to the strategic level of national development, specifying Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation as a national policy. To translate the macro policies in the Outline into concrete measures that are conducive to the development of both places, Hong Kong and Guangdong signed a Framework Agreement in the presence of the State Vice-President, Mr Xi Jinping, and senior officials from relevant ministries in Beijing in April 2010. This is the first agenda on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation ever endorsed and approved for implementation by the State Council since the establishment of the Joint Conference in 1998. The Framework Agreement sets out six long-term development positions for Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation, including a world-class new economic region, a financial co-operation region, a manufacturing and modern services base, a modern economic circulation sphere, a quality living area and a world-class metropolitan cluster.
On 16 September 2010, the 13th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference was held in Guangzhou. Both sides reviewed the progress of major co-operation initiatives over the past year and discussed the direction of the future development. According to the Administration, HKSAR Government and Guangdong Provincial Government were working closely to actively implement the various policies and measures in the Framework Agreement. Good progress had been made in the 43 projects of the 2010 Work Plan. Both sides also signed an arrangement on the implementation of the Framework Agreement after the Plenary, with a view to attaining concrete deliverables in major co-operation areas within a year or two. For this purpose, Hong Kong would continue to work closely with Guangdong to draw up the 2011 Work Plan. The HKSAR Government would also continue to strive to incorporate the relevant policies on Hong Kong/Guangdong co-operation in the Framework Agreement into the National 12th Five-Year Plan.
Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting
The close liaison between Hong Kong and Shenzhen started in 1978 after the Mainland had begun its "reform and opening up". Since then, a broad base of co-operation has developed. Both sides have been maintaining close partnership on the basis of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the HKGDCJC. The Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting co-chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration and the Mayor of the Shenzhen Municipal Government was set up in 2004 with a view to consolidating the achievements attained in various co-operation initiatives and considering the co-operation in future so as to obtain synergy. Both parties co-chaired the sixth Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting on 6 December 2010 in Shenzhen and discussed key co-operation areas in financial services, tourism, testing and certification industry, modern service industries in Qianhai Area, etc. Both sides agreed to strengthen and deepen co-operation and considered various co-operation initiatives for the coming year.
Hong Kong/Beijing Co-operation
In September 2004, the HKSAR Government and the Beijing Municipal Government established the Hong Kong/Beijing Economic and Trade Co-operation Conference to strengthen Hong Kong/Beijing co-operation and to tap the opportunities arising from CEPA and the 2008 Olympic Games. On 25 November 2010, the Chief Executive of the HKSAR and the Mayor of the Beijing Municipal Government co-chaired the Third Plenary Session of the Conference to review the progress of cooperation in eight areas, namely, economic and trade, city management and public services, education, tourism, financial services, health, professional exchanges, as well as innovation technology and creative and cultural industries. Both sides also exchanged views on direction for future cooperation.