Guangdong leaders pledge deeper ties with Hong Kong

Guangdong provincial leaders have pledged to beef up cooperation with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by launching more cross-boundary projects and linking up the two sides' trade and professional qualification systems to build a world-class city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The undertaking comes on the heels of the unveiling of the Bay Area's blueprint last month that seeks to turn the region with a $1.6 trillion GDP into one that would rival the world's three prominent bay areas in New York, Tokyo and San Francisco.

At a plenary meeting of Guangdong deputies to the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on Wednesday, provincial leaders undertook to cooperate actively with Hong Kong with a string of suggestions for the development of the Bay Area.

Li Xi - a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Party chief of Guangdong - said the Guangdong authorities will take the SAR's needs into full consideration when designing cooperation projects.

He noted that Nansha Pilot Free Trade Zone in Guangzhou is focusing on technological innovation together with Hong Kong and Macao; Shenzhen's Qianhai FTZ is tilted to Hong Kong's modern service industry; and the development of Hengqin in Zhuhai should be in accordance with Macao's needs to create a dynamic economy structure.

With these guidelines in mind, Li said a series of cooperation projects are in the pipeline, including an international commercial bank dedicated to the Bay Area's development, joint investment institutions and development funds.

In order to build the Bay Area into a world-class city cluster, the province will learn from Hong Kong's experiences and set up an institutional system linked to international trade standards and rules.

Guangzhou Mayor Wen Guohui said one of the provincial capital's primary tasks is to promote a mutual professional qualification recognition system with Hong Kong.

So far, Guangzhou has recognized 16 types of vocational certificates issued by Hong Kong and granted mutual recognition for six professions, including registered architects and real-estate appraisers, he said.

Guangzhou also welcomes medical care and health service institutions from Hong Kong and Macao to establish branches in the city, as well as doctors and physicians who want to register there.

Shenzhen Mayor Chen Rugui hopes the central government could support Hong Kong and Shenzhen in jointly building an innovation and cooperation zone at the Lok Ma Chau Loop to explore a novel management system for cooperative projects, as well as an international technological cooperation mechanism.

According to Chen, a series of measures for Hong Kong and Macao people to enjoy resident treatment in Guangdong are also in the pipeline to allow them to work, study and secure medical services conveniently in the city.