23rd Plenary of Hong Kong / Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference

The 23rd Plenary of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, co-chaired by HKSAR Chief Executive Mr John Lee and Governor of Guangdong Province Mr Wang Weizhong was held on 21 Mar 2023.

Some of the progress made and the directions for future co-operation are set out below:

Innovation and technology
Guangdong and Hong Kong have been in close collaboration in the development of innovation and technology (I&T). According to the Global Innovation Index 2022, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou Science and Technology Cluster has been ranked second in the world for three consecutive years. Looking ahead, both sides will actively develop the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Technology and Innovation Co-operation Zone, which will provide important support to promote I&T development in the GBA and the country. Meanwhile, promoting high-quality economic development and accelerating the development of digital economy and smart city are some of the important measures taken by the HKSAR Government to contribute to the national policy of "Digital China".

To take I&T development in Guangdong and Hong Kong to new heights, the two sides signed two agreements after the meeting, including the renewal of the "Co-operation Agreement on Technology and Innovation Exchange between Guangdong and Hong Kong" to further deepen technology and innovation exchanges and co-operation between the two places, as well as to promote the development of an international I&T centre in the GBA. The two sides have also entered into the "Co-operation Agreement between Guangdong and the HKSAR on Co-developing a Smart City Cluster" with a view to stepping up mutual exchanges, expediting the development of digital economy and smart city, and jointly promoting the development of a Guangdong-Hong Kong smart city cluster.

Financial Services
There has been close financial co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong all along. Leveraging the unique advantages of Hong Kong's financial system under "One Country, Two Systems" and our country's support to the financial liberalisation and innovation of the GBA, the HKSAR Government will join hands with Guangdong Provincial Government to contribute to the high-quality development of the GBA as well as the deepening of the reform of the country's financial markets.

The governments of both sides will jointly implement the "Opinion on Providing Financial Support for the Comprehensive Deepening Reform and Opening Up of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone" and promote mutual access between the financial markets of the two places, including striving for the establishment of insurance after-sales service centres by the Hong Kong insurance industry in Nansha and Qianhai in the near future, so as to provide GBA residents who are holders of Hong Kong policies with comprehensive support. The HKSAR Government also supports Mainland companies to make use of Hong Kong's platform as an international financial centre and professional services for financing, particularly green and sustainable financing, so as to channel international capital to support the green transformation of our country's economy.

To promote deepened financial co-operation between both places, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau of the HKSAR Government and the Guangdong Financial Supervisory Authority signed the "Agreement on Enhancing Hong Kong-Guangdong Financial Co-operation" after the meeting.

Northern Metropolis Development
As a new engine driving the future development of Hong Kong, the Northern Metropolis serves as an important base for promoting I&T and the diversified development of industries. It also creates strong impetus for the growth of Hong Kong, facilitates high-quality economic co-operation between Hong Kong and the GBA, and provides more quality living space for the general public. Under the Guangdong-Hong Kong and Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operation mechanisms, the Task Force for Collaboration on the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy has been set up to strengthen liaison and co-ordination between Hong Kong and the Mainland on matters related to the Northern Metropolis. The first meeting of the Task Force was held in late February this year in Shenzhen. Both sides exchanged views on the progress in planning and implementing the Northern Metropolis, the development plans in Shenzhen relevant to the Northern Metropolis, and related areas including cross-boundary transport, planning of control points, development of Qianhai, construction works at the Lok Ma Chau Loop, etc. Both sides agreed to continue strengthening co-operation, making full use of the synergy between the Northern Metropolis and the GBA cities in areas such as industry development, land use and ecological conservation, and the opportunities arising therefrom.

Commerce and Investment Promotion
All along, Guangdong Province has been the most preferred investment destination of Hong Kong businesses and a valuable trading partner for Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government is grateful for the many liberalisation measures that have been launched continually by various cities of Guangdong Province for the benefits of Hong Kong businesses and professionals, and will continue to strive for the implementation of more liberalisation measures in the GBA and even the whole of the Mainland, thereby further advancing the liberalisation of trade between Guangdong and Hong Kong, as well as facilitating trading and investment.
On supporting Hong Kong enterprises to tap into the Mainland market, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has established the "HKTDC GBA Centre" in Shenzhen and "GoGBA Business Support Centres" in various Mainland cities of the GBA to assist Hong Kong enterprises in taking the GBA as an entry point to develop the domestic sales market. The network of "GoGBA Business Support Centres" will be expanded gradually to cover all nine Mainland cities of the GBA. The HKTDC will also organise the flagship events "SmartHK" in Guangzhou and "Chic HK" in Shenzhen during the "Guangdong-Hong Kong Co-operation Week" in May this year to promote Hong Kong's services and products.

InvestHK will continue to work closely with cities in Guangdong Province and organise various promotion activities, to appeal to more enterprises in Guangdong Province to make investments in Hong Kong or leverage Hong Kong's unique business environment as a "going-out" platform to expand overseas.

Cross-boundary Transport and Logistics
The "Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" puts emphasis on expediting infrastructural connectivity, raising the standards of passenger and cargo transport services. To this end, the Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, connecting to Liantang Port of the Mainland, has been fully commissioned since February 6 this year. As regards the "Quota-free Scheme for Hong Kong Private Cars Travelling to Guangdong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB)" (the Scheme), the HKSAR Government expressed its heartfelt gratitude to the Central Government and the Guangdong Provincial Government for their continuous strong support. The governments of Guangdong and HKSAR are working closely and strive to announce the arrangements within this month for implementation of the Scheme within this year. The Scheme will lead to considerable enhancement in both the utilisation of the HZMB and the inter-connectivity within the GBA.

The Airport Authority Hong Kong signed a co-operation agreement with the Dongguan Municipal Government last month on co-operation over "sea-air intermodal cargo transshipment". Under the new "sea-air intermodal cargo transshipment" arrangement, export cargo can go through one-stop security screening and cargo clearance in the Mainland, and then be transported to the Hong Kong International Airport by sea for direct transshipment to overseas destinations, further enhancing the international competitiveness of the manufacturing industry as well as the import and export trade of the GBA. The relevant pilot scheme was launched in end-2021 and has been operating smoothly, and the scale of "sea-air intermodal cargo transshipment" will gradually increase.

The full list of other key initiatives related to the joint conference can be found here: