On Feb 18, Chinese authorities unveiled the outline development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, aiming to develop the region into "a role model of high-quality development."
The plan calls for efforts to raise the level of market integration in the Greater Bay Area.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge [Photo/IC]
1. Promote investment facilitation
Efforts will be made to: implement the Agreements under the respective CEPAs with Hong Kong and Macao, taking forward the implementation of special liberalization measures for Hong Kong and Macao with respect to sectors including finance, education, legal and dispute resolution, maritime transport, logistics, rail transport, telecommunications, and Chinese medicine, as well as construction and related engineering; consider further lifting or relaxing investor restrictions on Hong Kong and Macao such as qualification requirements, percentage of shareholding, as well as market access; provide one-stop services in Guangdong to Hong Kong and Macao investors and related practitioners; and better implement liberalization measures for Hong Kong and Macao within the CEPA framework.
Measures will be taken to enhance the level of investment facilitation. Further liberalization measures under the CEPA framework will be introduced and Hong Kong and Macao professionals and enterprises will be able to practice, invest and do business on the Chinese mainland enjoying national treatment in more sectors.
The central business district of Hong Kong [Photo/IC]
2. Promote trade liberalization
The plan demands to speed up the establishment of a single window system for international trade, and to promote information sharing, mutual recognition of regulatory regimes, as well as mutual assistance in enforcement among boundary control authorities.
Improvements will be examined in relevant management measures to further facilitate the expansion of Mainland markets by Hong Kong and Macao enterprises. The plan also supports the setting up a global quality and traceability center for import and export commodities in Nansha of Guangzhou, and asks for expediting the introduction of pilot programs on market-based sourcing and trade.
Implement the Agreement on Trade in Services under the respective CEPAs between Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao to further reduce restrictions, and continuously enhance the level of liberalization in the Chinese mainland’s trade in services with Hong Kong and Macao. The plan promotes the formulation of performance standards for the service industry that is in line with international standards, and to promote enhanced cooperation in personnel training, mutual recognition of qualifications, standard-setting, and more in relation to trade in services among Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao.
Efforts will made to: expand the scope of the mutual recognition of professional qualifications among the Mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao; expand the scope of “one examination, three certifications” (namely, obtaining a vocational qualification at the national, Hong Kong, and Macao, as well as international levels by setting one examination); and push forward measures to facilitate cross-boundary practice for Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao residents.
The beautiful night view of Macao [Photo/IC]
3. Facilitate the flow of people and goods
The plan asks for raising the level of convenience in the use of Travel Permit of the Chinese mainland for Hong Kong and Macao residents through such means as digitalization and informatization.
Provision of more convenient arrangements will be explored for exit endorsements for eligible individuals from the nine PRD municipalities to travel to Hong Kong and Macao for business, scientific research, and professional services.
Policies and the optimization of management measures for facilitating foreigners travelling within the Greater Bay Area will be introduced. Cooperation among departments of control points of the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao will be strengthened to expand and improve the functions of control points. Adopt more convenient clearance modes at control points in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao in accordance with the law. Explore increasing the number of automatic clearance channels for inbound and outbound travelers at major land control points as far as conditions permit, and further facilitate the movement of Hong Kong, Macao and Chinese mainland residents.
Efforts will be made to explore and formulate cross-boundary transport policies and ancillary traffic management measures for vehicles of Hong Kong, Macao, and the Chinese mainland, and to enhance transport and logistics development. Policy measures will be further improved to facilitate journeys made to and from Hengqin by single-plate vehicles from Macao, and the range of single-plate vehicles from Macao will be expanded. Management measures of Hong Kong-Guangdong and Macao-Guangdong dual-plate cross-boundary vehicles will be enhanced, and dual-plate cross-boundary vehicles will be allowed to travel via multiple boundary control points.