Tuesday, July 12, 2005

HK urged to forge delta rail link - C.K. Lau

Hong Kong should have a rail link to western Guangdong as part of a strategy to expand its hinterland and tap into the development of western China, businessman Victor Fung Kwok-king said yesterday.

The chairman of the Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council said Hong Kong also needed to reconsider how best to complement Guangdong as the province moved beyond light industrial manufacturing into vehicle-making and petrochemical industries.

Releasing the council's first annual report since it was set up last year, Mr Fung said Hong Kong should turn its attention to western China and exploit its status as a regional commercial centre to help the region develop. He said highways linking Hong Kong with Kunming in Yunnan and Chengdu in Sichuan would be completed during the latest five-year plan, enabling goods from the two provinces to reach Hong Kong in a day.

As the Yantian port in Shenzhen was fast eclipsing the growth of Hong Kong's container port, the city would have to become more productive, improve its transport connections and develop as a transport hub.

Mr Fung said he felt the proposed bridge linking Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau should have a rail line, even though the government has ruled this out.

If the bridge could not have a rail link, then future crossings should have one, as it was important for Hong Kong to be part of the national rail network.

Recommendations by the council to the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments include extending the opening hours of the Shataukok and Man Kam To checkpoints, relaxing controls on the cross-border cargo industry and streamlining cross-border business procedures in implementing the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.

The council has also proposed that the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments co-ordinate an annual Guangdong-Pearl River Delta promotional plan to better promote the region, and streamline rules to attract Guangdong companies to set up in Hong Kong.


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Published in the South China Morning Post. Copyright (C) 2005. All rights reserved.