National Policy

CPPCC to focus on better GBA integration


The integration of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has made significant progress, supported by various policies promoting cross-border connections.

Liu Jieyi, the spokesperson for the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), highlighted this at a press conference prior to the annual session. He emphasized that the CPPCC has consistently focused on the economic and social development of Hong Kong, Macau, and the Greater Bay Area through consultations and discussions.

According to Liu, national political advisers have offered suggestions and proposals to facilitate the integration of the Greater Bay Area market. These recommendations include improving cross-border compliance systems for financial data, promoting digitalization across industries, and establishing mechanisms for talent sharing among different regions.

CPPCC National Committee members from Hong Kong and Macau have also conducted research visits to various locations in Guangdong province. Their focus has been on exploring cooperation and developing platforms between areas such as Hengqin, Qianhai, and Nansha.

These collective efforts have yielded positive results.

Data from Guangdong’s Development and Reform Commission indicates that the Bay Area, with a population of 87 million, is projected to achieve an economic output of over 13.6 trillion yuan in 2023. This represents an increase of 1 trillion yuan compared to 2021.

The integration has been facilitated by extensive infrastructure projects linking Hong Kong with the Pearl River estuary, as well as effective policy coordination. Notable projects include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which spans 55 kilometers and is the longest bridge-tunnel sea-crossing in the world. Additionally, express rail links, special cooperation zones, and significant real estate investments have contributed to the seamless flow of people, capital, logistics, and information across borders.

To further enhance the soft connections among the 11-city cluster, initiatives such as the northbound travel program for Hong Kong vehicles have been implemented. This program allows eligible Hong Kong private cars to travel between Hong Kong and Guangdong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge without regular quotas. 

Another example, is the seamless integration between Macau and the Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin.

The island in Guangdong Province on March 1 started to allow most goods to be moved there tax-free from the neighboring Macau Special Administrative Region.

The new customs operation became effective at midnight in the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, in the city of Zhuhai. The zone covers the 106-square-km island of Hengqin that sits between Macau and the Chinese mainland.

Under the new mechanism, tariffs will be generally lifted for goods entering Hengqin from Macao, while goods moving from Hengqin to the Chinese mainland will now be subject to import duties, if they are not eligible for added-value tax exemption.

Similar tax exemptions also apply to luggage and parcels entering Hengqin from Macau.

The new policy is seen as a major arrangement to enrich the practice of “One country, two systems” in Macau and boost economic diversification of the SAR, which has a land area of only 32.8 square km.

Li Weinong, director of the zone’s executive committee, said the customs rearrangement also aims to make it easier for Macau residents to live and work in the zone.

By the end of 2023, there were 11,500 Macau residents working or living in Hengqin, an annual increase of over 7%, according to the zone’s statistics bureau.

Xuan Jianguo, secretary-general of the Hengqin Institute of Innovation and Development, said the customs reform will greatly boost the integration of Hengqin and Macau.

“Hengqin has completed a key step toward fulfilling its two main goals, which are promoting the diversification of Macao’s economy and creating a new home for Macau residents to live and work,” Xuan said.

Categories GBA Views