China issues plan for further developing Shenzhen-Hong Kong cooperation zone in Qianhai

2021-10-14 | & China Daily & Xinhua

An aerial view of the Qianhai free trade zone in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. [Photo/China Daily]

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council have jointly released a new plan for comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone in Qianhai.

According to the plan, Qianhai Cooperation Zone will comprehensively promote to leverage Hong Kong's experience and expertise to advance the development of a modern service industry on the Mainland and expand the opening-up of its financial sector. The new blueprint was formulated to help Qianhai better play an exemplary and leading role in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

1. General Requirements

Guiding Ideology

The plan must follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, implement the guiding principles of the Party’s 19th National Congress and the second, third, and fourth plenary sessions of its 19th Central Committee in full, firmly act on the Party’s basic theory, line, and policy, strengthen the commitment to the “Four Consciousnesses”, the “Four-sphere Confidence” and the “Two Upholds”.

The plan is underpinned by institutional innovation and will be implemented by pilot programmers under the framework of "one country, two systems" to promote the convergence of rules and mechanisms of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for coordinated development.

Development Objectives

By 2025, a higher-level opening-up system will be initially built. A globally competitive business environment will be basically formed. The modern service with quality elements concentrated and radiation effects will be boomed. An innovation system which is driven by various forces will become a key engine for the development of the Greater Bay Area. 

By 2035, the high-level opening-up system will be improved. A world-class business environment will be boasted. A development model of industries coordination and mutual market access as well as innovation-driven will be established among the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. And the zone will become an engine for high-quality development with strong capability in global resource allocation, breeding innovation and coordinated development, with the reform and innovation experience broadly promoted. 

2. Implementation Area

The total area of the Qianhai Cooperation Zone will be expanded to 120.56 square kilometers from 14.92 square kilometers, including Shekou and Nanshan area of 22.89 square kilometers, Exhibition New City and Ocean New City area of 29.36 square kilometers, airport and surrounding area of 30.07 square kilometers, and Bao’an central area and Dachan Bay area of 23.32 square kilometers. 

3. New Test Platform

According to the plan, Qianhai Cooperation Zone will be defined as a new test platform for comprehensively deepening reform and renovation. 

Advancing the development of the modern service industry. 

To establish a modern service industry development system that connects Hong Kong, Macao and other international countries. A mature modern service industry standard will be released and carried out with pilot demonstrations. To implement multiple transport connections of land and sea via the construction of an international trade port. To accelerate the development of green and smart supply chains, promote the cross-border integration and innovation of supply chains, and release an international standard. Promoting the integrated development of the modern service industry and manufacturing industry to speed up the development of new technologies, business patterns and modes such as “Internet Plus” and artificial intelligence. 

Accelerating the reform and innovation of the system and mechanisms for sci-tech development. 

Focusing on the fields such as artificial intelligence, health and medicine, finance and technology, smart cities, Internet of Things, energy new materials, etc., developing new research institutions for cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, innovating scientific and technological cooperation management system, and promoting the transformation of technological achievements into technical standards. To build a high-level innovation base for talents, improve the supporting measures including international talents service, innovation funding, incubator, and catalyst, etc. To explore the legal regulations and economic rules for promoting the development of new technology and industry, build a modern marine service industry cluster, a highland of marine technology innovation, and a national copyright innovation development base.

Creating a world-class business environment. 

To research and formulate the regulation for investor protection of Qianhai Cooperation Zone, improve the protection mechanism for the rights and interests of foreign funding and private enterprises, enhance the competitiveness, innovation, control, influence, and risk prevention of the state-owned capital in the zone. To support and lead the development of industries with a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework. To create a credit economic pilot area, facilitate the cross-border administrative service with Hong Kong and Macao, and the young people from Hong Kong and Macao studying, working or living in the zone will enjoy more favorable policies and have more opportunities. Medical services will be provided in the zone too. Foreign talents service guarantee system will be established to attract more people to come with facilitation provisions such as visa application, residence permit, and permanent residence certificate. 

Innovating the zone’s governance model. 

To promote the innovation of regional governance which is delivered by the legal institution, optimize the governance structure, function setting, management model of the legal institution. Actively formulating relevant regulations and rules, allowing qualified people from Hong Kong, Macao, and other foreign countries to be appointed as staff in the legal institution. To build an integrated platform for communication and development, deepen the reform of streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. Enhancing preparedness and capacity for coping with major public health emergencies, explore the collaborative governance model of local government and enterprises in the fields of network platform and sharing economy. 

 4. High-level Gateway for Opening-up

The plan will bring significant benefit to the economic and social development of Hong Kong, and will inject new driving forces and provide new opportunities for Hong Kong's development.

Promoting free trade in services with Hong Kong and Macao.

According to the current Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the mainland and the regions of Hong Kong and Macao, opening-up of the Qianhai Cooperation Zone will be supported to Hong Kong and Macao in expanding service areas. To introduce international renowned universities to carry out high-level cooperation in running schools in partnership with local institutions in the zone, while education and training base for young people of Hong Kong and Macao will be welcome to be set up. The base of development, creation, publication and distribution of cultural products will be built in the zone. Medical institutions are encouraged to agglomerate and develop, and an opening-up facilitation management system will be established to conform to the current systems of Hong Kong and Macao. 

Expanding the opening-up of the financial sector. 

To promote the pilot zone function of the national financial sector for opening-up and cross-border RMB innovation, to support the implementation of the national financial policy of opening-up in Qianhai, and to pilot the alignment of financial market interconnection with Hong Kong, cross-border use of RMB, foreign exchange management facilitation, etc. To provide bank account service, support cross-border stock investment and international insurance to develop in the zone. To explore the new mechanism for cross-border trade and finance, international payment and clearing, and also support the cooperation zone to promote the supervision of technological research and application. 

Further opening up legal affairs. 

To set up an international legal service center and an international business dispute resolution center, explore the convergence of different legal systems and cross-border laws and regulations, as well as explore the improvement mechanism for civil and business cases which are applicable for Hong Kong laws and regard Hong Kong as the arbitration place. To encourage foreign, Hong Kong and Macao law firms to set up representative offices, and support legal experts from Hong Kong to appear in court to assist in the investigation for the legitimation right protection of enterprises and individuals involved in cross-border commercial investment. An independent and integrated business dispute resolution platform will be established to litigate, mediate, and arbitrate in the zone, and this will gradually become a key dispute resolution center in the future. 

Promoting high-level participation in international cooperation.

To improve foreign investment guarantees such as investment insurance, policy guarantee, and foreign-related legal service, etc., consolidate the cooperation with international ports and free trade zones, and establish a cross-border trade big data platform. To support Qianhai Cooperation Zone to form various international organizations for the economy, technology, standards, and talents in a market-oriented way, innovate the management system of international industries and standard organization. Moreover, to build a think tank of Chinese characteristics promoting the construction of research base of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, build a cultural exchange and assessment platform for common prosperity and opening-up of multiple cultures. Advancing Belt and Road cooperation with the countries and regions to support the news alliance to innovate and develop. 

5. Guarantee Measures

Upholding and strengthening the CPC leadership in comprehensively deepening reform of the Qianhai Cooperation Zone. 

To strengthen the Party’s overall leadership in every process of the development and construction of the zone, implement the general requirements for Party building in the new era, promote the innovation in primary-level Party building, encourage officials to fulfill responsibilities and undertake initiatives in the new era, and provide guarantee for deepening reform and opening-up of the zone. 

Improving the system of organization and implementation. 

Relevant departments should jointly promote the implementation of the plan based on the coordination and assessment, solve the issues during the process, and report important situation according to the procedures. Professional work guidance and support should be enhanced and related policies should be delivered in the zone. The procedure of submitting reports for approval shall be performed for every key policy, program, and task mentioned in the plan. 

Local government should take responsibility to strengthen organization and leadership. 

Guangdong province and Shenzhen city should enhance the organization and improve the management system for strengthening the coordination management of the zone, and power should be delegated to the sectors such as administrative approval, technological innovation, planning management, comprehensive supervision, etc. Qianhai Cooperation Zone should ensure the effective implementation of reform measures, summarize good policies and practices, and form a reproducible and operable experience for future promotion.

Source: & China Daily & Xinhua

Edited and translated by GUO Xinxin