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Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 19:31
Zhang: Bay Area to spur reform and opening-up
By Edith Lu
Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 19:31 By Edith Lu

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is not only a national strategy that meets the country’s current development needs – it also helps to break the bottleneck in the economic growth of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, the head of the nation's top body on Hong Kong and Macao affairs said on Monday.

Zhang Xiaoming – director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office – told a 36-strong delegation from the Hong Kong-Shanghai Economic Development Association in Beijing the Bay Area’s development could further promote reform and opening-up in the new era.

The two SARs, he said, have their own irreplaceable positions in the country. But, without the manufacturing industry, even the strength in the financial sector alone is limited as it needs to serve the real economy.

“The development of the Bay Area has widened the outskirts of Hong Kong,” said Zhang.

He believed that Guangdong province offers more opportunities to Hong Kong enterprises as the province had been at the front line of economic reform in the early years, and has been the “experimental plot” for many policies.

To better attract talents from Hong Kong to other cities in the Bay Area, tax incentives will be provided, Zhang said.

He confirmed the decision by the Ministry of Finance that Hong Kong residents who own a house on the mainland without household registration could still enjoy the tax incentives. “It’s for sure that Hong Kong people living and working on the mainland will get more benefits in future.”

With more favorable policies on the way, Hong Kong businesspeople are convinced that the business environment in the Bay Area and on the mainland will continue to improve.

Yao Cho-fai – convener of the delegation and a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress – said property and financial services remain the two sectors most preferred for investment by Hong Kong businesspeople.

He told China Daily that financial institutions from Hong Kong have better branding and credit facilities, and could provide various investment products for mainland investors in buying stocks, bonds, insurances and funds.

With details of the new Foreign Investment Law to be unveiled later this year, Yao said he expected Hong Kong investments on the mainland to grow. 

Premier Li Keqiang said after the annual NPC session last month that investments from Hong Kong and Macao would be covered under the new law, and that previous arrangements for investments from the two SARs would not change.

Yao said the new Foreign Investment Law is a signal for the United States that China is very much involved in intellectual property protection and will further open up some businesses on the negative list.

“Every round of reform and opening-up will unleash more productivity, and that is what drives economic development,” he said.


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