CE: Guangdong-Macao cooperation promotes high-quality development
Macao and Guangdong will work pragmatically to press ahead with bilateral ties in a number of areas. This is in order to promote jointly high-quality development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, and to advance general Guangdong-Macao cooperation to a higher level.
The Guangdong-Macao Cooperation Joint Conference 2022 was held on Thursday (15 September) in Hengqin, Zhuhai. The Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wang Weizhong, attended the meeting, each leading a delegation from their own government.
Advancing high-quality development of the Cooperation Zone and promoting high-quality cooperation between Guangdong and Macao were the themes for this year’s Joint Conference.
During the Joint Conference, both sides affirmed that the work done over the past year had been effective, with notable progress seen in every aspect of cooperation.
In his speech, Mr Ho said this year’s Joint Conference was convened at a meaningful time: the Cooperation Zone was marking the first anniversary of its inauguration. The milestone enabled both sides to explore key projects for next-phase cooperation relevant to, respectively, the Greater Bay Area, the Cooperation Zone, and the acceleration of the economic diversification of Macao.
The Chief Executive raised four points during the Joint Conference.
First, was that no effort should be spared in coordinating epidemic prevention and control work, while stepping up effort to boost economic recovery in Macao. Guangdong and Macao had worked shoulder-to-shoulder to minimise to the lowest possible level the risk of cross-boundary spread. Mr Ho thanked the Guangdong and Zhuhai authorities for their long-term concern about, and support for, Macao’s economic and social development. Macao would make good use of its inherent strengths, in order to boost economic recovery, while first promoting adequate economic diversification, said Mr Ho.
Comprehensively advancing cooperation between Guangdong and Macao would foster Macao’s contribution to the well-being of people, and to the prosperity of both Macao and Guangdong, as well as Macao’s contribution to the steady implementation of the “One country, two systems” principle, stated Mr Ho.
Second, was the need pragmatically to implement policies for advancing development of the Cooperation Zone. Mr Ho said since the inauguration of the Cooperation Zone, its Administrative Committee and its Executive Committee had seen effective progress in their relevant work, thanks to the joint and concerted effort of Guangdong and Macao.
A number of favourable policies for the Cooperation Zone had been put in place, in order to attract a greater number of science research institutions and talents either from overseas or from within the country, stated Mr Ho. Introduction of a number of key projects in the Cooperation Zone helped in promoting development of major industries. Mr Ho called on further effort to accelerate construction progress of major projects in the Cooperation Zone; to explore policy-related innovation; and to attract greater numbers of the Macao public either to work, live, or start a business in the Cooperation Zone, said Mr Ho.
Third, those involved should join hands in strengthening development of the Greater Bay Area, and in promoting Macao’s adequate economic diversification. Mr Ho said the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan specified the need to advance high-quality development of the Greater Bay Area, and to support Macao further in integrating into overall national development.
The Second Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government (2021–2025) aligned with measures outlined in the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan, thus giving better play to the regulatory advantages enjoyed by Macao under the “One country, two systems” principle, and facilitating the city’s effort regarding adequate economic diversification.
Fourth, was the importance of developing the Greater Bay Area as an international first-class bay area in which to live, work, and travel. Mr Ho said further effort was required to foster interconnectivity of infrastructure and transport facilities; and to deepen connections between Macao and other Greater Bay Area cities in terms of tourism, cultural affairs and sport, with a view to developing the Greater Bay Area as a world-class destination for travel.
The Chief Executive mentioned strengthening youth exchanges and initiating study tours within the Greater Bay Area. The 10th National Games in 2025 would be an important opportunity to increase exchanges in relation to sports-related cooperation between Greater Bay Area cities. Such exchanges would help explore a path for organising regional sports contests.
In his address, Governor Wang quoted a speech by President Xi Jinping, delivered at the ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong SAR, and the inauguration of the sixth Hong Kong SAR Government, with Mr Wang noting the President’s point that adherence to the “One country, two systems” principle would also create limitless opportunities for Macao’s development. President Xi’ remarks provided a guiding path and basis for Guangdong-Macao cooperation, said Mr Wang.
Governor Wang called for further effort to be made to accelerate the following four aspects of work. First, the need to uphold firmly the “four new” strategies and “four key tasks” designated for the Cooperation Zone. Second, the need to give full play to the respective strengths of Guangdong and Macao, with a focus on: high-quality manufacturing; traditional Chinese medicine; modern financial services; and cultural tourism, convention and exhibition, and commercial and trade industries. Third, the need consistently to optimise standards of ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ connectivity; and to strengthen linkage of relevant regulations and mechanisms. Fourth, there was the need to intensify cooperation in areas of social welfare such as education, healthcare, talent development, food safety, and environmental protection, while optimising the Guangdong-Macao Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism.
During Thursday’s Joint Conference, the two sides exchanged views and discussed how to: promote high-quality development of the Cooperation Zone; advance financial reform and innovative cooperation; foster cooperation on traditional Chinese medicine; bolster cooperation on meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business; deepen cooperation on cultural affairs and tourism with a view to position the Greater Bay Area as a world-class travel destination; and strengthen ties on healthcare issues in relation to regular epidemic prevention and control.
The Chief Executive and the Governor witnessed the signing of five agreements. They were: a memorandum of understanding regarding supervision of medicine and medical devices in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area; a memorandum on development of Guangdong-Macao integrated services relating to social security matters (via a specialised portal in Hengqin); a memorandum of understanding regarding Guangdong and Macao cross-boundary governmental services; a framework agreement on strengthening educational exchange and cooperation between Guangdong and Macao; and an agreement on Guangdong-Macao science and technological innovation exchange and cooperation.
Macao officials attending the Joint Conference included: the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Mr Cheong Weng Chon; the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Lei Wai Nong; the Secretary for Security, Mr Wong Sio Chak; the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U; and the Chief-of-Office of the Chief Executive’s Office, Ms Hoi Lai Fong.
Also attending the Joint Conference included: Member of the Standing Committee of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Vice Governor of Guangdong, Mr Zhang Hu; Director of the General Office of the Guangdong Government, Mr Chen Min; Secretary of the Zhuhai CPC Municipal Committee, and Secretary of the Guangdong’s Party Working Committee for Hengqin, Mr Lyu Yuyin; and the Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the Guangdong Government, Mr Li Huanchun.