The Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng, today met in Hong Kong with the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr John Lee Ka-chiu. The two sides agree on the value of deepening bilateral exchange, and of ensuring each place complements the advantages of the other, in order to advance development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Mr Ho today led a delegation of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Government to Hong Kong. While there, he visited the Hong Kong Science Park, to learn about the latest developments in its work, and visited laboratories that have collaboration with Macao at the Centre for Chinese Herbal Medicine Drug Development, to explore the possibility of establishing future cooperation projects.
At the meeting with Hong Kong officials, Mr Ho underlined that Hong Kong and Macao had close relations, and said Hong Kong had given Macao great support in various fields.
Over the past three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong and Macao had faced enormous economic challenges. Nonetheless, Hong Kong had a solid foundation as an international financial market, he noted. Macao, for its part, had received great support from the country – including Hong Kong and mainland cities – in conjunction with the concerted effort provided by the Macao community. Macao was confident of seeing a gradual recovery in its economy, following the implementation from 8 January of optimised measures to encourage exchanges between the mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao, stated Mr Ho.
The two SARs should strengthen cooperation and coordinated development in: scientific and technological innovation; finance; traditional Chinese medicine; tourism and culture; and sports events, to promote reciprocal cooperation in relation to industrial and economic development, Mr Ho said.
Mr Ho gave a brief explanation of the context of the MSAR’s new concession contracts for games of chance; including the necessity for the six concessionaires to fulfil their commitments to promote non-gaming elements; and the outline of their proposed investment plans.
As Hong Kong and Macao were parts of the Greater Bay Area, the two SARs should further strengthen cooperation, and step up contributions toward the high-quality development of the Greater Bay Area, and the process of integration into overall national development, said Mr Ho.
The two SARs should jointly hold large-scale events, such as legs of touring concerts, and international sporting events. These efforts would help create new impetus for innovative development of the Greater Bay Area, while creating a better life for the population, and writing a new chapter in the implementation of the "One country, two systems" principle.
During the meeting, Mr Lee noted Hong Kong and Macao had always benefitted from complementing each other’s advantages and had cooperated closely in various important areas, such as commerce, cross-boundary infrastructure, cultural affairs, and tourism. This had helped speed development of the Greater Bay Area, he added.
In matters of commerce and trade, for example, the signing in 2017 of the Hong Kong-Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement assisted Hong Kong merchants in entering the Macao market, and facilitated the flow of trade and investment between the two SARs.
Mr Lee noted the morning visits by the Macao delegation to the Hong Kong Science Park, and the Centre for Chinese Herbal Medicine Drug Development. The latter was a joint effort of InnoHK’s R&D Centres and the University of Macau. Mr Lee also thanked the Macao Government Tourism Office for inviting representatives of the Hong Kong tourism sector to Macao, furthering tourism-industry exchanges between the two SARs.
Mr Ho and Mr Lee agreed that Hong Kong and Macao, as SARs of the country, should adhere to the “one-country” principle while taking advantage of the “two-systems” model. Within such an advantageous framework, Hong Kong and Macao – closely-integrated with the mainland, while highly-connected to the rest of the world – were crucial bridges for linking the mainland also to the wider world.
Regarding legislation on national security matters, the two officials noted that although the legal traditions of the two SARs were different, there were still many aspects in common. The two SARs should strengthen exchange and communication regarding their legal frameworks, and their enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security.
Other Macao officials attending the meeting in Hong Kong were: the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Mr Cheong Weng Chon; the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Lei Wai Nong; and the Chief-of-Office of the Chief Executive’s Office, Ms Hoi Lai Fong.
Other HKSAR officials present were: the Secretary for Justice, Mr Paul Lam Ting-kwok; the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung Yun-hung; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Erick Tsang Kwok-wai; and the Director of the Chief Executive's Office, Ms Carol Yip Man-kuen.