China / HK Macao Taiwan

Mainland offers 'solid' backing for HK prosperity

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-10 11:46

BEIJING - The Chinese mainland has provided "solid backing" for Hong Kong' s prosperity and stability over the years, by helping the special administrative region defuse risks and strengthening competitiveness, a white paper said here on Tuesday.

According to the white paper, titled the Practice of the "One Country, Two Systems" Policy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Chinese central government has fully supported the HKSAR in "meeting various difficulties and challenges".

The white paper noted that the Chinese central government has managed to ensure Hong Kong's economic and financial stability during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the international financial crisis in 2008.

It has also supported the region in the fight against SARS in 2003, which dealt a hard blow to Hong Kong's economy, by providing a large quantity of free medical supplies, promoting trade and investment between the two sides, and by allowing mainland residents to visit Hong Kong on their own.

By the end of 2013, some 129 million mainland residents have visited Hong Kong under the Individual Visit Scheme, said the white paper published by the Information Office of China's State Council.

According to estimate of the HKSAR government, the scheme contributed to a 1.3-percent increase of Hong Kong's gross regional product in 2012 alone, and helped create more than 110,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, the Chinese central government has also taken measures to consolidate Hong Kong's position as a leading offshore RMB market, and has encouraged the listing of mainland enterprises on the stock market in Hong Kong.

A series of economic partnership agreements including the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), now allow the Chinese mainland to give zero tariff treatment to all products of Hong Kong origin.

Meanwhile, the mainland also made great efforts to ensure the supply of foodstuff, agricultural and sideline products, water, electricity, and natural gas to the HKSAR.

Currently, the mainland is the largest trading partner of Hong Kong, while Hong Kong is the mainland's most important trading partner, a key export market and the mainland's largest off-shore financial center.

According to Hong Kong statistics, the trade volume between Hong Kong and the mainland reached 3.89 trillion Hong Kong dollars in 2013, 3.5 times that of 1997.

In addition, the mainland and Hong Kong are also each other's largest source of overseas direct investment.

The white paper said the Chinese central government had supported the HKSAR in stepping up cooperation with mainland provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and the cross-border infrastructure construction and facilitation for personnel and cargo customs clearance between the two sides.

It has also buttressed the two sides' exchanges and cooperation in education, science and technology, and culture as well as between relevant departments of the central government and the HKSAR government.

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