Off to a good beginning, say leaders during review of Hengqin's first year
The Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin has achieved "a good beginning" since its establishment Sept 17, 2021, asserted Lei Wai Nong, director of the Cooperation Zone Executive Committee during a recent interview.
Statistics show that Hengqin's Regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at 22.39 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) in the first half of 2022, a year-on-year increase of 2.5 percent, while the full range general financial revenue grew by 2.2 percent to 20.03 billion yuan ($28.7 million).
Lei Wai Nong in a Sept 13 interview
System construction is one of the major supports for development of the Cooperation Zone, said Lei. Plaques for the Management and Executive committees were unveiled only 12 days after the CPC Central Committee and State Council issued the Overall Development Plan for Construction of the Hengqin Cooperation Zone on Sept 5, 2021, implementing the initial reform measure under a new mechanism of extensive consultation, joint contribution, joint management, and shared benefits.
Lei called it an innovation and unprecedented attempt for the Management and Executive committees to cooperate with provincial agencies in managing matters related to development of the Cooperation Zone. During the process of running-in and integration between Guangdong and Macao, it is necessary to learn from each other, explore new management models through overlapping advantages, and improve work efficiency by overcoming deficiencies, he added.
Implementation of regulations for the Cooperation Zone are being steadily promoted, Lei continued. Overall Planning for Hengqin pertinent to land use, industrial development, livelihoods, ecology, and culture of the Cooperation Zone will be released soon. These provide solutions for phased development issues including inadequate development of the real economy, lack of obvious characteristics in serving Macao, and integrated development of Hengqin and Macao.
As of now, there are 31 Macao staff on the Cooperation Zone Executive committee. Innovative breakthroughs have been achieved via joint discussion and exploration between Guangdong and Macao, though it has been challenging to work together for members from the two sides with different institutional backgrounds, noted Nie Xinping, deputy director of the Cooperation Zone Executive Committee.
Nie Xinping in the interview [Photos courtesy Zhuhai Media Group]
In response to basic social work such as preparing for natural disasters, COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, as well as livelihood services, the Executive Committee and provincial agencies in Hengqin have discovered solutions for smooth development of Hengqin in alliance with the Zhuhai municipal government.
According to Nie, staff from Macao are "rigorous, professional, and emphasize procedures and laws," are used to "making decisions before taking actions," and "make full arguments before an event and will not change easily once they are determined." Whereas staff from the Chinese mainland are "flexible, pragmatic, active, and efficient" and will choose to "cross the river by feeling the stones" while making one adjustment after another.
Nie said a series of concise and efficient rules and systems has been established by practice in the past year despite certain maladjustments between the two sides. He expressed confidence that the Hengqin Cooperation Zone will be more efficient, rule-oriented, and adaptable to international competition due to convergence of advantages of Guangdong and Macao.
The Cooperation Zone plans to realize rule connection of more than 100 items in the next three years, and will continue to achieve more rule-connect and mechanism docking through technical arrangements and flexible measures.
Currently, 12 paths for rule coherence are specified in the Cooperation Zone. An annual list of 30 rule coherence tasks promotes mechanism docking in line-division management to expedite "first-line" customs inspection, strictly control "second-line" examinations; and facilitates highly efficient people flow, innovation of cross-border finance, market access, and legal services.
Having a significant geographical location in China's "dual circulation" development paradigm in which domestic circulation and international circulation promote each other, Hengqin expects to attract increasing numbers of Macao residents to live and work. Considering development needs of Macao citizens and enterprises in the Cooperation Zone, minor reforms will be constantly implemented to achieve further rule convergence, mechanism docking, and the integrated development of Hengqin and Macao, said Nie.