The central Government will work with Hong Kong to make the best use of its common resources with Guangdong and avoid wasteful competition, State Development and Planning chief Zeng Peiyan said yesterday. Mr Zeng addressed a news conference a day after delivering his work report on the economy for last year and this year to the 3,000 NPC delegates. 'Competition is inevitable between the ports, airports and other infrastructure of the two [Hong Kong and Guangdong],' he said. 'But they can also co-operate. At the request of the Hong Kong Government, the central Government has agreed to improve co-ordination between the two in finance, trade, tourism and infrastructure.' Beijing was looking at developing a western Hong Kong-Shenzhen highway route and a high-speed railway between Hong Kong and Guangzhou and had set up a committee to examine ways to make the best use of ports and airports in Hong Kong and Guangdong, Mr Zeng said. He said he expected Macau to make a similar request for co-ordination and he was ready to respond. Mr Zeng said China's economy would bounce back from its slowest quarterly growth in two years and expand a year-on-year seven per cent growth in the first three months of 2002. 'The overall situation is better than we expected. We expect economic growth in the first quarter will reach seven per cent,' the head of the State Planning Commission said. 'We initially reckoned that growth rate could be higher in the later part of the year than the beginning, so there will be no big problem for us to fulfil seven per cent growth this year if we achieve seven per cent in the first quarter.' China's economy grew an annual 7.3 per cent last year, but in the fourth quarter growth slowed steadily to just 6.6 per cent year-on-year. Asked how China could achieve its target of seven per cent gross domestic product growth this year, Mr Zeng said many of the projects funded by four years of bond issues - this will be the fourth year - would come on stream this year and foreign investment would increase with entry into the World Trade Organisation. He said consumer spending, especially on housing, education, travel and cars, would rise this year thanks to increases in urban and rural incomes last year. Exports of everyday goods, which account for most of China's exports, will not be too badly affected by the slow global growth, Mr Zeng said. 'If we do not achieve the seven per cent [growth], the number of job opportunities will be cut, there will be problems for companies and treasury revenue will diminish,' he said.