A growing partnership
The process of achieving greater integration for Hong Kong with the Pearl River Delta received a boost on several fronts this week. Although they could not be described as breakthroughs, they remain significant developments in the accelerating trend towards cross-border economic co-operation.
Addressing an economic forum in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Guangdong Governor Lu Ruihua added his weight to the growing calls for closer ties. However, he went further by forcefully suggesting that there is an immediate need to work together in order to maximise the region's immense potential.
He correctly points out that there is excessive duplication in the development of infrastructure and that only talk and co-operation can harmonise the effort. Channels have been established to achieve these ambitions, but the governor's comments lend support to what many people know to be true; that not enough is being done to achieve the most efficient integration.
The hope must be that he stirs the imagination of planners on both sides of the border so that parochial ambitions for economic achievement can be set aside. In their place should be longer-term goals for an integrated financial and manufacturing region.
The other encouraging development from the conference was the announcement of a business promotional tour to Japan, jointly organised by Hong Kong and Guangdong. The presentation of a united front to potential investors should assist in better presenting the region's diverse opportunities. It should also aid in co-ordinating the allocation of investment funds across the delta.
Progress is also being made in dealing with the vexed question of border crossing, although quite clearly much remains to be done. Discussion between Hong Kong and Shenzhen about allowing residents one-day visas to visit Hong Kong is a sensible step towards the creation of a more porous frontier.