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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

More day trips for Hong Kong officials to Greater Bay Area to foster integration

More day trips for Hong Kong officials to Greater Bay Area to foster integration

Chief executive says such same-day missions will do away with need to assign acting officials while increasing efficiency.

Hong Kong’s top officials will conduct more frequent day trips to the Greater Bay Area to promote integration into national development, the city’s leader has said ahead of a visit to neighbouring Guangzhou and Shenzhen this week.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Tuesday added that such visits could save the need to assign acting officials, and a same-day return – made possible under a “one-hour living circle” vision by enhanced regional transport – could allow representatives to promote city developments with efficiency.

Lee is set to travel to Guangzhou and Shenzhen on Wednesday and Friday respectively to attend “Guangdong-Hong Kong Cooperation Week” events co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Hong Kong leader John Lee is eyeing more overseas trips in the coming months to promote competitiveness and build business ties.

“My senior officials and I will frequently travel between Hong Kong and mainland China on the same day from now on without the need to appoint other colleagues to acting positions in our absence,” he told reporters before the weekly meeting of the Executive Council, his key decision-making body.

Lee will head to Guangzhou on Wednesday morning for the opening of the SmartHK forum, which will focus on Hong Kong’s international network and innovative professional services.

He will then go to Shenzhen on Friday to kick off the “Chic Hong Kong” event that will showcase offerings from city enterprises in a bid to propel them into the domestic mainland market.

The skyscrapers of Shenzhen across the border with Hong Kong.

“We are committed to promoting Hong Kong’s advantages on the mainland and around the world, opening up opportunities for Hong Kong, and striving for our economy, for development as well as for competitiveness,” Lee said.

He added he was eyeing more visits to tap into the vast potential of the 86-million population of the bay area, an ambitious plan by Beijing to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and nine southern mainland cities into an economic powerhouse.

The city leader on Tuesday also said he would make more overseas trips in the coming months to raise competitiveness and develop business opportunities for Hong Kong, but stopped short of confirming the destinations.

“Things are being planned and we have to wait for some details to be confirmed, so we will make an announcement when all these details are ironed out,” he said.

The Merlion statue in Singapore. Hong Kong is seeking closer ties with the city state, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia.

The Post earlier reported Lee would lead a “high-level delegation” to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in July to foster closer ties with Asean members.

An insider told the Post that the three countries had been strong members of the bloc in Southeast Asia, with huge potential for Hong Kong to deepen collaboration in the area. City officials are also trying to set up meetings between Lee and the respective heads of states, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong embarked on a three-day visit to Singapore on Monday to promote exchange between Hong Kong and the city state on the innovation and technology front.

John Lee, who has been under US sanctions since 2020 for his perceived role in the national security law, has visited several mainland cities since the full post-Covid reopening of the city’s borders with the rest of the country. He also led a delegation to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in February.


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