Seven co-operation deals signed as HK delegation visits Guangdong

Hong Kong officials agree to joint efforts at annual meeting in Guangdong

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 September, 2012, 3:53am

Seven agreements on co-operation in areas ranging from railways to software development were signed by Hong Kong and Guangdong officials yesterday, as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying led a delegation to the province for the first time since he took office.

Leung was accompanied to the 15th conference on Hong Kong-Guangdong collaboration in Guangzhou by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the ministers of development, housing, environment, labour and commerce.

At a press conference with Guangdong's governor Zhu Xiaodan , Leung said he put a lot of emphasis on Hong Kong's partnership with the province. "We have drawn up a list of projects and set priorities for them. They will be looked after by special task forces in the coming year," Leung said.

Before the conference began, Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang praised Leung as "the chief executive who knows Guangdong best".

The seven agreements signed covered joint efforts in several areas, including a study by the MTR Corporation and Foshan authorities into a possible inter-city loop line between the cities of Guangzhou and Foshan ; removing trade barriers for professionals so they can practise in more places; joint weather forecasts; and an agreement on software development signed by Cyberport and a Guangdong software trade association.

Zhu, meanwhile, said Guangdong and Hong Kong would jointly appeal to the central government to remove trade barriers for professionals, and the province should become a testing ground for this.

"This will be our new starting point," Zhu said.

Professionals from Hong Kong, such as architects and surveyors, have complained of obstacles to practising independently on the mainland despite being allowed to do so. They have to sit examinations and be affiliated to a mainland firm.

On the inter-city rail link, the MTR said it would discuss with the Foshan government opportunities to invest, construct and operate the line between Guangzhou and Foshan, which would be connected to the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou high speed railway.

The Hong Kong Observatory said the strengthening of technical exchanges would help it forecast severe weather and mitigate natural disasters.