Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 50th terms of office) May 2018
CGCC will continue to leverage its contacts and perform its bridging role as a chamber of commerce and make every effort to encourage the entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce and trade associations of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao to strengthen cooperation and complement each other’s strengths, as well as maintain close communication with government departments to convey the business community’s needs and concerns.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area has attracted much attention in recent years. In the past, CGCC and I had also given opinions on macro policies via different platforms, such as how to maximize the Bay Area’s benefits, promote complementarity of industrial strengths, and enhance Hong Kong’s position and role in the Bay Area’s development. This column has also cited relevant views on many occasions, so I will not repeat them here. How to help Hong Kong people and businesses integrate more effectively into the development of the Bay Area market is also a very important and relevant issue. I want to share some of my views here.
At the time of publication of this article, specific plans for the Bay Area may have been announced. I look forward to relevant measures actively taking into account the views of the business community so that Hong Kong businesses can more effectively participate in the Bay Area’s development and explore market development opportunities.
Progressively implement national treatment
After the plans for the Bay Area are put in place, the first and foremost is to encourage Hong Kong people and businesses to establish closer ties with the area. I hope the relevant authorities will gradually allow Hong Kong people to enjoy the same treatment as Mainland residents. With regard to business operations, I hope the authorities can give Hong Kong businesses national treatment for better market access than the CEPA framework, and further expand the negative list approach and even relax the foreign equity restrictions for Hong Kong enterprises engaged in certain businesses in order to provide the Hong Kong business community with full support for tapping into the Bay Area.
The governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao can also explore convenience measures to further improve interaction among people of the three places so that there is a truly seamless flow of people and information in the area.
Mutual recognition of qualifications and tax concessions
At present, there are different criteria for accreditation and assessment of professional qualifications in the Bay Area, which hinders cross-border practice and the participation of professionals in Bay Area projects. I suggest establishing unified criteria for accreditation of professional qualifications so that Hong Kong professionals can provide services in the Bay Area as long as they have obtained accredited professional qualifications and relevant work experience in Hong Kong.
The authorities should also study the feasibility of introducing a system of “Hong Kong tax for Hong Kong people” in the Bay Area to reduce the tax burden on Hong Kong people and businesses in order to increase the incentives for Hong Kong people, especially high-end talents and industrial and commercial enterprises, to work and expand business there.
Encourage business community’s participation
The industrial and business sectors are eagerly looking forward to participating in the Bay Area as it is an important hub for the internal development of the Pearl River Delta and the Pan-Pearl River Delta and external connection with “Belt and Road Initiative”, ASEAN and international markets. CGCC will continue to leverage its contacts and perform its bridging role as a chamber of commerce and make every effort to encourage the entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce and trade associations of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao to strengthen cooperation and complement each other’s strengths, as well as maintain close communication with government departments to convey the business community’s needs and concerns.
Last December, I spearheaded the setting up of the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Entrepreneur Union”, with the aim to broadly strengthen interaction between businesses and government agencies to promote industrial innovation and cooperation and support the development of start-ups, thus becoming an important platform for deepening ties between businesses and governments as well as assisting in the construction of the Bay Area.
To give the business community a better understanding of the future of the Bay Area, CGCC will take the lead in organizing a forum on its development, to be held in Hong Kong and after the specific plans and measures are rolled out. We will invite top leaders of the NDRC, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao coordinating the development of the Bay Area to serve as keynote speakers to explain the relevant policies and plans, as well as discuss with the business community the opportunities for future development in the Bay Area. At the same time, as Chinese businesses at home and abroad have played an important role in promoting economic and trade ties between the Mainland and the international community, we will also hold discussions on the functional role that can be played by overseas and domestic Chinese enterprises, including Hong Kong businesses, in the construction of the Bay Area and “Belt and Road Initiative”.
On the whole, the development of the Bay Area will be a new and important focus of economic development for the three places. Enterprises in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao must seize the opportunity to actively understand and align with the latest policies, deepen mutual cooperation and jointly explore new opportunities for development in the Bay Area.