英文

Editorial : Co-management of Hengqin

【明報專訊】LAST WEEK the central government proposed two reform plans for Hong Kong's and Macao's integration into the Greater Bay Area. In these plans, Qianhai and Hengqin will be set aside from Shenzhen and Zhuhai respectively as the points of connection with Hong Kong and Macao. What these two sets of plans have in common is that some new directions for industry development for Hong Kong and Macao are proposed, alongside tax reduction policies. The difference is that Hengqin will be jointly managed by Guangdong and Macao, with Macao playing a dominant role in effect in the so-called co-management.

Hong Kong and Macao lack geographical space for further development. The latest reform plans have measures targeted at this issue. Qianhai is described as a special zone in a special zone. It is already a pilot zone for reform in the financial industry. Since becoming a free trade zone in 2015, it has become even more powerful with the goal of becoming China's Manhattan. Today, 335 Fortune 500 companies in the world have set up businesses here, and there are 11,500 registered companies from Hong Kong. The expansion announced this time will see its space increasing from about 15 square kilometres to 120 square kilometres. John Lee, the Chief Secretary for Administration, has said that the plan will create broader space for Hong Kong's development.

The Hengqin Cooperation Zone will also see drastic expansion. Macao has an area of merely 34 square kilometres. Hengqin, which will be under the co-management of Macao, has an area of 106 square kilometres. Macao residents who move to Hengqin in the future can enjoy the same benefits as those in Macao. Enterprises established in Hengqin can hire workers who live in Zhuhai, who will not be required to go through customs. After 3 years, the Macao government can have a share in tax income from Hengqin. The arrangements can be said to benefit both the government and the people.

The substantial increase in industries and geographical space will bring unlimited possibilities to the economic development of Hong Kong and Macao. In order to attract more industries to settle in Qianhai and Hengqin, the central government will also provide preferential tax policies to attract talents. There will be better financial support for Hengqin in particular, as Macao enterprises that settle in the key industries of Hengqin will receive subsidies. The total amount will be equivalent to the tax revenue of the central government in Hengqin, meaning that the central government's tax revenue from Hengqin can all be used to subsidise companies that have come to invest in the region.

To promote Hong Kong's and Macao's integration into the overall national development is to give full play to the strengths of Hong Kong and Macao so that they can fulfil the tasks demanded by the country. It is also a fulfilment of the national need for Hong Kong and Macao to diversify their industries so as to achieve further economic development and promote prosperity and stability. Now that Hengqin has been placed under the co-management of Macao, a new model of local governance will be tested, which is also exactly what the country needs.

Hengqin's co-management is a major piece of reform of unprecedented scale. It will be an important add-on to the practice of one country, two systems if it succeeds. As Hong Kong has missed such an opportunity, the SAR government should rush to play catch-up. It should send observers to Hengqin to study the reform measures so as to prepare itself for similar reforms proposed by the central government in the future. To be ready for reform, not only must Hong Kong use its strengths in industrial diversification and economic development, but it must also have achievements in other areas.

明報社評2021.09.13:橫琴劃歸省澳共管改革成果貢獻灣區

中央上周提出兩個針對香港與澳門融入大灣區的改革方案,分別在深圳和珠海劃出前海與橫琴跟港澳對接。兩套方案共同之處在於為港澳提出一些新的產業發展方向,以及減稅等政策,不同的地方是橫琴將會由粵澳共管,所謂共管,實質上是澳門主導。

港澳兩地要進一步發展都缺乏物理空間,最新提出的改革方案,對此都有針對措施。前海被形容為特區中的特區,在金融業方面的改革,已經是先行先試,2015年成為自貿區後,更是如虎添翼,以成為中國的曼哈頓為目標,如今世界500強有335家在此設立企業,來自香港的註冊公司達到11,500家。這次獲得擴容,面積由原來約15平方公里,擴展到120平方公里,特區政務司長李家超表示,這將會為香港締造更廣闊的發展空間。

同樣是大刀闊斧擴容的是橫琴合作區,澳門面積只有34平方公里,劃歸澳門共管的橫琴,面積達到106平方公里。將來移居橫琴的澳門居民可以享受在澳門同等的福利待遇,設立在橫琴的企業,可以聘用在珠海居住而毋須出關入關的工人為其服務,3年後澳門政府可以分享在橫琴所得的稅收,可謂是官民俱受惠。

產業和物理空間的大幅增加,對港澳兩地的經濟發展帶來無限的可能,中央為吸引更多的產業在前海和橫琴落戶,還給出稅務的優惠政策,以及吸引人才的政策。特別是給予橫琴的財政支持更勝一籌,入駐橫琴重點產業的澳門企業,將會得到補助,總金額最高相當於中央在橫琴的稅收,即是說中央在橫琴的稅收,可以全部用於補貼前來投資的企業。

促使港澳融入國家發展大局,就是要發揮港澳所長,做到國家所需的任務。香港與澳門如能做到產業多元化,從而達到經濟進一步發展並促進繁榮穩定,也是國家所需。現在將橫琴劃歸澳門共管,試驗一種新的地方管治模式,也是國家所需。

橫琴共管這樣的破天荒重大改革,如果成功,將會是一國兩制實踐的重要補充,香港錯過了這樣的機會,特區政府應該急起直追,首先派駐觀察員到橫琴觀摩改革的措施,為將來中央提出類似的改革做好準備,不但要在產業多元化和經濟發展方面發揮香港所長,還要在其他方面有所建樹。

■Glossary 生字

dominant : more important, powerful or easy to notice than other things

unlimited : as much or as many as is possible; not limited in any way

equivalent : equal in value, amount, meaning, importance, etc.

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