Co-lo­ca­tion plan has solid le­gal ba­sis: Lam

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Sun­day re­as­sured the pub­lic that the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment for the Guangzhou-Shen­zhenHong Kong Ex­press Rail Link (XRL) has solid le­gal ba­sis as it would only be im­ple­mented by en­act­ment of lo­cal leg­is­la­tion.

Speak­ing af­ter at­tend­ing a ra­dio pro­gram, she ex­plained that once the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment is reached by Hong Kong and the main­land, it must be ap­proved and rat­i­fied by the coun­try’s top leg­is­la­ture — the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPCSC) — and then leg­is­la­tion will be for­mu­lated and im­ple­mented in Hong Kong. The three steps pro­vide a solid le­gal foun­da­tion for the plan.

Lam re­it­er­ated that the XRL would yield op­ti­mal eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits for Hong Kong only by hav­ing the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment at the West Kowloon Ter­mi­nus.

She urged the pub­lic to “clar­ify mat­ters and get to the bot­tom of things”, and adopt a ra­tio­nal and prag­matic mind­set in dis­cussing the plan.

The SAR gov­ern­ment an­nounced last week that one­fourth of the West Kowloon Ter­mi­nus would be des­ig­nated as a Main­land Port Area (MPA) in or­der to pro­vide on­estop im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms clear­ance for high-speed train pas­sen­gers. Main­land laws will be ap­plied in the MPA.

Chief Sec­re­tary for Ad­min­is­tra­tion Matthew Che­ung Kin-chung said in his on­line blog on Sun­day the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment serves as more than an im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms fa­cil­ity. It also helps Hong Kong to tap into the Chi­nese main­land’s, and even the world’s, eco­nomic veins, thus achiev­ing di­ver­si­fied de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the SAR.

He said the project’s ben­e­fits are so pro­found that they in­flu­ence not only the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion, but also gen­er­a­tions to come, as well as the city’s longterm com­pet­i­tive­ness.

The XRL, Che­ung said, would greatly in­crease in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the SAR and main­land cities, facilitating fam­ily vis­its, travel, trade, busi­ness and stud­ies. He pointed out it would take only 48 min­utes to travel from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, eight hours to Shang­hai and about nine hours to Bei­jing af­ter the rail link be­gins op­er­a­tion.

The project would also cre­ate some 10,000 jobs in rail­way man­age­ment, en­gi­neer­ing and re­tail, help­ing to boost lo­cal em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, and stim­u­late the de­vel­op­ment of the city’s tra­di­tional pil­lar in­dus­tries.

Be­sides tourism, in­dus­tries like fi­nanc­ing, trade, lo­gis­tics and pro­fes­sional ser­vices would have deeper ac­cess to more mar­kets as the XRL will con­nect Hong Kong not only with the main­land mar­ket, but also mar­kets in re­gions and coun­tries along the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, such as coun­tries in the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) trade bloc, Cen­tral Asia and Europe, Che­ung wrote.

Fi­nan­cial Sec­re­tary Paul Chan Mo-po also said in his on­line blog the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment was based on prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tions and through com­pre­hen­sive plan­ning. He be­lieved that most Hong Kong peo­ple sup­port the plan.

He noted that the XRL would fur­ther con­sol­i­date Hong Kong’s strate­gic po­si­tion in the Guang­dong-Hong KongMa­cao Greater Bay Area and south­ern China, in­ject­ing vi­tal­ity into the city’s eco­nomic progress.

The Hong Kong sec­tion of the XRL is ex­pected to go into ser­vice in the third quar­ter of next year.

The co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment serves as more than an im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms fa­cil­ity.” Matthew Che­ung Kin-chung, chief sec­re­tary for ad­min­is­tra­tion

ED­MOND TANG / CHINA DAILY

Stu­dents go through their paces at the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony of the 13th Mil­i­tary Sum­mer Camp for Hong Kong Youth held at San Wai Bar­racks in Fan­ling on Sun­day.

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