Date
16 July 2019
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the National Development and Reform Commission will explain the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area during a symposium on Feb. 21. Photo: AFP/TVB News
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the National Development and Reform Commission will explain the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area during a symposium on Feb. 21. Photo: AFP/TVB News

Greater Bay Area development plan set to be unveiled

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said central authorities will unveil in the coming few days the blueprint for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The Outline Development Plan, unlike her policy address, will only provide broad directions and will not specify projects to be implemented, Lam told media before attending a regular Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.

The initiative, introduced by Premier Li Keqiang in 2017, aims to develop a world-class city cluster in an area covering Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong province. The area is home to nearly 70 million people.

The outline development plan will be “formally promulgated within days”, Lam said.

She said the National Development and Reform Commission will explain the plan during a symposium to be held in Hong Kong on Feb. 21.

Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong officials, along with their guests, will attend to listen to the briefing, which is expected to focus on technology and taxation but with no concrete details.

Among those attending are Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on, Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui, as well as other officials and lawmakers.

The symposium will be held at the Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel. It will start at 10:30 a.m. and last about 90 minutes.

Lam said the benefits of the Greater Bay Area to Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau are multifarious.

“We are all very committed to building a bay area economy which is open, which is international, which will consist of an international innovation and technology hub, which has the personal support of President Xi Jinping himself,” she said.

“The nine cities in Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macau should each of us leverage on our strengths and advantages in order to create a much bigger economy.”

The chief executive also dismissed fears that the initiative could undermine the “one country, two systems” principle and Hong Kong’s uniqueness.

Vice Premier Han Zheng, who heads a leading group for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, had made it very clear that one of the major factors for the success of the initiative is the “one country, two systems” principle, which the city must uphold to be able to participate in the Greater Bay Area development, Lam said.

Jonathan Choi Koon-shum, chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, urged Hong Kong to seize the opportunities to be brought by initiative, particularly in the field of technology, noting that the city, under the “one country, two systems”, has unique advantages to benefit from the plan.

Tam Yiu-chung, the sole Hong Kong member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said he believes the outline can help Hong Kong work with mainland cities toward joint development, adding that Hong Kong should come up with its own complementary measures on technology.

Kenny Shui Chi-wai, an assistant research director at Our Hong Kong Foundation, a think tank set up by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, expects the symposium to highlight the importance of cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland, particularly in the field of technology.

He also said tax relief arrangements may be discussed during the symposium, although specific measures are not likely to be unveiled yet.

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TL/JC/CG

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