BEIJING, July 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The value of trade between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Chinese mainland has surged more than sixfold from $50.77 billion to $360.33 billion, an average annual increase of 8.5 percent since the Hong Kong's return to the motherland 25 years ago, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
While integrating itself into the country's overall development, Hong Kong has become an important participant in domestic circulation and a key contributor connecting domestic and international circulation.
By the end of 2021, investment from Hong Kong into the mainland had topped $1.4 trillion, accounting for 57.6 percent of the mainland's total attraction of overseas investments.
"Proactively integrating itself into the country's overall development and carving out its role in national strategies, Hong Kong has maintained its strengths in its high degree of openness and in aligning with international rules," Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday at the meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.
"With continuously expanding areas and enabling mechanisms for Hong Kong's cooperation and exchanges with the mainland, people in Hong Kong now have better opportunities to start their own businesses and make achievements," he added.
Tapping into Greater Bay Area
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), which aims to become a world-class bay area and city cluster, is a significant national project conceived and promoted by President Xi.
On July 1, 2017, Xi witnessed the signing of a framework agreement between the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, and the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao on deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation.
A year later, Xi announced the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, a supergiant sea-crossing traffic project that links Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. It has become a physical symbol of China's vision for the GBA.
On February 18, 2019, the outline development plan for the GBA was unveiled, which envisaged creating a role model of high-quality development, an international first-class bay area and a world-class city cluster.
Last September, a plan was launched for further developing the Qianhai cooperation zone for the southern metropolis of Shenzhen and the HKSAR, with the aim of helping the zone better play an exemplary and leading role in the development of the GBA.
The number of Hong Kong-funded enterprises in the Qianhai zone surged 156 percent year on year in 2021. Of the total foreign investment in actual use in Qianhai last year, 93.8 percent was from Hong Kong.
Individuals from Hong Kong are benefiting from the GBA initiative too. Hong Kong and Macao professionals from eight sectors, including teachers, doctors and tour guides, are now allowed to practice on the mainland with mutual recognition of qualifications. By now, over 3,000 professionals have obtained qualifications on the mainland.
Addressing at the celebration, Xi again said central government fully supports Hong Kong in its effort to seize historic opportunities offered by China's development and actively dovetail itself with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
"Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, it has been re-integrated into China's governance system, and a constitutional order was established with the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle as its fundamental guideline," Xi noted.
Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the HKSAR can participate in the governance of both the SAR and the country as empowered by law.
After its return, at the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) in 1998, deputies from Hong Kong began to participate in the NPC, the highest body of state power, to discuss plans for national development and problems affecting people's lives, and to put the people's expectations at the top of the agenda on state matters.
Meanwhile, more than 5,600 representatives from all walks of life in Hong Kong serve as members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at all levels, including over 200 in the CPPCC National Committee. They are all valued advisors on key national programs and contributors to the development of the country.
Thirty-six deputies from Hong Kong were elected to participate in the work of the 13th NPC, accounting for 1.2 percent of total deputy numbers while over 200 CPPCC members are from the HKSAR, 10 percent of the total. Both ratios significantly exceed Hong Kong's share of the country's population of about 0.5 percent.