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Greater Bay Area moves toward further alignment

By LI WENFANG | China Daily Global | Updated:2023-04-07

The Guangdong provincial government on Thursday unveiled 20 examples in which efforts have been made to further align rules and systems in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in a bid to advance market integration.

Alignment has been a difficult yet important matter in the development of the GBA, as each area is cooperating with respect to the "one country, two systems" and "three customs territories and three currencies" principles, said Zhu Wei, deputy director of the provincial development and reform commission, at a news conference in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Efforts in this regard over the past few years have resulted in the more efficient, cross-border flow of people, cargo and capital, have improved the business environment and have brought greater convenience to Hong Kong and Macao residents working and living in Guangdong, he said.

The 20 highlighted examples were selected for their innovation and the concrete measures they introduced to improve people's livelihood.

In one of them, efforts to improve the social security service system in the GBA resulted in 306,200 Hong Kong and Macao residents signing up for the endowment, unemployment and work-related injury insurance of Guangdong by the end of February, said Xia Qing, an official with the provincial human resources and social security department.

A total of 189 counters have been established in nine Guangdong cities to meet the social security needs of individuals and businesses from Hong Kong and Macao.

Eighty-four similar outlets are also operating in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, and residents can even visit an online platform that offers common services.

Furthermore, Guangdong's social security department has expanded its cooperation with related government departments, nongovernmental organizations and financial institutions in Hong Kong and Macao, Xia said.

In another example of efforts to improve alignment, 110 GBA standards have been issued covering 25 categories, including Cantonese cuisine, traditional Chinese medicine, transportation, elderly care and logistics, said Zhang Wenxian, an official with the provincial administration for market regulation.

Government departments, businesses, business associations and research institutions from the three GBA areas worked together to set the standards.

The list of standards will be expanded to help turn the GBA into an international innovation hub. The exchanges and cooperation in standardization will be pushed forward between the GBA and the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, he said.

And in a third example to boost alignment, areas have improved ties in terms of wealth management.

By the end of February, 31 banks in the nine Guangdong cities in the GBA had joined the Cross-boundary Wealth Management Connection pilot scheme, serving 43,600 individual investors and involving 2.67 billion yuan ($388 million), said Guo Yunxi, deputy head of the Guangzhou branch of People's Bank of China, or the central bank.

The branch has guided banks in Guangdong in establishing the cooperative mechanism with banks in Hong Kong and Macao for cooperation in account management, cross-border financial services, system connections, information management and the protection of investors' interests, he said.

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