A senior Guangdong official yesterday confirmed a new supply deal is likely to provide Hong Kong with cheaper water. Guangdong Executive Vice-Governor Tang Bingquan said the new deal was expected to be announced soon. Mr Tang, who attended the World Economic Development Declaration Conference in Zhuhai yesterday, said there would be good news about the negotiation over Hong Kong's water supply from the Dongjiang, or East river. 'The central government is concerned with the negotiation,' he said, 'The tie between Guangdong and Hong Kong is like brotherhood. The water prices are likely to be reduced.' Mr Tang did not reveal the details of the agreement, saying it had to be approved by the central government. Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan, who ended his three-day visit to Hong Kong yesterday, said the central government would listen to the Hong Kong government's views on the negotiation over the water supply from the Dongjiang. 'If the Hong Kong government expresses its views, we will spare no efforts to meet its demands,' he said. Governor Huang Huahua said that the two sides had agreed on a new rate structure for Hong Kong's water supply, which would be implemented as soon as it was approved by the State Council. Under the existing water pact, which runs until 2008, the amount of water supplied to Hong Kong is fixed. This has led to millions of dollars worth of water being dumped into the sea each year because Hong Kong's annual consumption has risen more slowly than expected because of the relocation of factories to Guangdong. The East river provides more than 80 per cent of the fresh water Hong Kong consumes. Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said during the conference in Zhuhai that Hong Kong had given full play to the advantages of free trade and acted as China's main window to the world during the mainland's pursuance of an opening up policy. 'The mainland is Hong Kong's largest trading partner, and more opportunities are coming our way along with further economic development,' Mr Tsang said. The business sectors between Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau signed 24 business and investment deals during the conference, together worth US$1.37 billion.