Beijing to consult Hong Kong on its 13th five-year plan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 4:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 4:50am

Beijing wants to start studying "as soon as possible" how Hong Kong can fit into the nation's economic development plan in the five years to 2020.

The nation's planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, would meet the Hong Kong government on cross-border economic cooperation as the nation started mapping out its 13th five-year plan in April, Xinhua quoted sources as saying yesterday.

This will be the second round of bilateral dialogue on Hong Kong's economic development in the national context after the mainland's 12th five-year plan, which is due to be completed next year.

"The State Council has agreed that the commission should base discussions about the 13th five-year plan on the previous bilateral discussion arrangement," Xinhua reported.

Some analysts welcomed the move, but warned that the central government should adopt an advisory role in considering Hong Kong's economic future. They said Beijing's decision to publish the white paper on the city's affairs in June had triggered strong debate on Hong Kong's autonomy.

A Hong Kong government spokeswoman said the administration's bureaus and departments were considering the issue while soliciting industry views. "Under the 'one-country, two- systems' principle, the HKSAR government has commenced the groundwork to complement the drafting of the national 13th five-year plan," she said.

Deloitte China tax and business advisory services partner Caesar Wong said the central government's advice was necessary in the wake of the trend of greater cross-border economic integration.

"Opinions are opinions, which should not be instructions," he said. "Each party should maintain their respective rule of law and governance."

Hong Kong and the mainland maintain tight economic ties. The city is a leading centre for off-shore yuan trade and is a key part of a proposed free-trade zone in Guangdong, which also consists of Qianhai in Shenzhen, Hengqin in Zhuhai, Nansha in Guangzhou and Macau.