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Tuesday, May 21, 2019, 01:02
Uniform policies focus of Bay Area integration
By Willa Wu, He Shusi and Li Bingcun
Tuesday, May 21, 2019, 01:02 By Willa Wu, He Shusi and Li Bingcun

Creating policies and regulations that could be applied to all cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is one of the future focuses of continued Bay Area development, top officials from local governments of the 11-city cluster said on Monday.

Quality healthcare service is vital for attracting talented workers to live and work in the Bay Area, Nip said

The Bay Area, comprising two special administrative regions and nine cities in Guangdong province, involves three different legal systems, currencies and customs jurisdictions.

Cao Dahua, executive deputy director-general of the Office of the Leading Group on Construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, said the groundbreaking attempt, which will adhere to the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong and Macao, aims to enhance the integration of the Bay Area to make it more cohesive and efficient.

READ MORE: Timeline: Xi and Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area

Cao, also deputy director-general of Guangdong province’s Development and Reform Commission, said the local governments will first research key areas such as innovation and technology, customs clearance, business environment and people’s livelihood in policymaking.

Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs of the HKSAR, said on Monday that healthcare will be one of the top areas that require policy breakthroughs across the boundary.

He made the remarks during a group interview at the SAR government headquarters, with some 50 mainland media outlets across the Bay Area.

Quality healthcare service is vital for attracting talented workers to live and work in the Bay Area, Nip said.

Therefore, he added, the SAR government will put in greater efforts to coordinate the institutional differences in healthcare between Hong Kong and the mainland, so funds, drugs and medical equipment in Hong Kong can be used in clinics and hospitals in Guangdong.

This also includes research on how to enable Hong Kong residents to use their elderly healthcare vouchers in the Bay Area, Nip noted.

The SAR government will also facilitate more training on medical professionals in the Bay Area, through cooperation with medical schools in Guangdong, he said.

Nip stressed that it is very important for Hong Kong and Guangdong governments to understand their institutional differences in areas including structures, functions and roles of the government before introducing any new policies.

ALSO READ: HK’s strategic position in Greater Bay Area blueprint

Hong Kong secretary for innovation and technology, Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung, told the group interview that maximizing the unique strengths of each city is key for achieving coordinated development of the “Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao” innovation and technology corridor.

The government has designated a task force on inno-tech collaboration between Hong Kong and Guangdong in 2017 to achieve this goal and avoid waste of resources, he added.


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