Hong Kong, one of the world's freest economies, is making headway in its campaign to be part of the mainland's next five-year plan. When the city signs a pact with the province next month to boost cross-border co-operation, it will reap the fruits of lengthy discussions with Guangdong and Beijing. The framework agreement for Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation will form the basis for a section in the 12th five-year plan covering the roles of the city and province. The plan takes effect next year. The pact will be the first formal agreement on co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong recognised by the central government. It will also be the first agreement signed between the city and the province since the Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, the main forum for cross-border dialogue, was established in 1998. 'The contents of the framework agreement may not be very eye-catching but its significance is that it will be the first pact on co-operation between the city and the province which has input from various central government ministries,' a Hong Kong official familiar with cross-border collaboration said. Hong Kong is striving for greater integration with the fast-growing and often aggressively capitalist market across the border, amid fears it may otherwise be marginalised. While the agreement will cover nearly all aspects of co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong, it will focus on measures to boost collaboration in areas such as service industries - in particular financial services - environmental protection and infrastructure projects. It will pave the way for the implementation of measures under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa) in Guangdong. The Hong Kong official said the framework agreement would be updated every year in line with progress in co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong, in the same way that the Cepa pact signed in 2003 has been expanded with the signing of supplementary agreements in each of the subsequent six years. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua will attend the signing ceremony, which is expected to be held on the mainland. Tsang and Guangdong Party Secretary Wang Yang finalised the details of the agreement when the pair met in Beijing early this month. Top officials from central government bodies - such as the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office as well as the National Development and Reform Commission - will also witness the signing of the framework agreement next month. The pact will translate into concrete measures the policy directions spelled out in the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (2008-2020) issued by the National Development and Reform Commission in December 2008. The plan states the central government's determination to turn Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong into an international metropolis. Hong Kong officials have been talking to their mainland counterparts since last year about how the city can play a bigger role in the country's economic development under the 12th five-year plan. In 2006, for the first time since the handover, Hong Kong rated a mention in a five-year plan. But it was a brief one - just two lines of text in 90 pages. They stated Beijing's support for preserving Hong Kong's status as an international financial, trade and logistics centre.