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Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference

Today, I attended the 17th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Guangzhou, together with the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, five Bureaux Secretaries and about 30 other colleagues. At the Plenary, we met with officials of the Central People's Government and the Guangdong Provincial Government, including the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Zhu Xiaodan, the Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Ms Zhao Yufang, and representatives of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Together, we reviewed the results of co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong in the past year and set clear directions and goals for the coming year.

The SAR Government always attaches great importance to co-operation with Guangdong, which has strong complementarity with Hong Kong.  Hong Kong's strength lies in its service sector. This year, the two places have taken the lead in basically achieving the liberalisation of trade in services through CEPA by removing access barriers to the Guangdong market for Hong Kong's service sector. If our service sector can fully capitalise on these trade liberalisation measures with Guangdong, there will be new impetus for Hong Kong's economic growth and the relevant arrangements will serve as valuable examples for other Mainland provinces and cities.

At today's meeting, I suggested that Hong Kong and Guangdong step up efforts to promote co-operation in finance, professional services, tourism, cross-boundary infrastructure, environmental protection and cultural exchanges in the coming year.

I hope that the governments and business communities of the two places can seize the opportunities to expedite the implementation of liberalisation measures for trade in services so that the international competitiveness of the region can be enhanced and stronger support can be provided by the two places in the rapid development process of the country and the world. The SAR Government will strive for further liberalisation of trade in services between Hong Kong and the Mainland in the National 13th Five-Year Plan.

November 6, 2014