Hengqin’s massive new infrastructure took another step towards completion yesterday when officials broke ground at the site of second-tier customs facilities.
The new customs posts will be tasked with clearance procedures between Hengqin and the rest of the mainland, and are expected to be finished by the end of June next year. Spread over seven different locations and covering around 245,000 square metres, the facilities are expected to cost RMB 597 million.
Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng was present at the ground-breaking ceremony and while in Hengqin he also attended the second meeting of the Administrative Committee of the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone, a signing ceremony for 12 investment projects and an unveiling ceremony for four community projects.
According to the plans for Hengqin’s development, the administrative committee for the cooperation zone is run under a dual director system, jointly led by Guangdong’s governor and Macao’s chief executive, with a permanent deputy director appointed by the Macao government, and other deputy directors appointed through negotiation between Guangdong and Macao.
Ho was accompanied by Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui and other top officials at the ground-breaking ceremony.
Macao’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong, who is one of the two secretary-generals of the cooperation zone’s administrative committee, noted that the general plan requires “the construction of a new high-standard and open system that integrates with Macao in the cooperation zone”, adding that one measure to achieve the objective is to “promote goods movements [between Macao, Hengqin and elsewhere in the mainland] under the principle of first-tier loose administrative control and second-tier strict customs control”.
Lei said that the “second-tier” customs facilities will “promote the movement of resources between Macao and the cooperation zone in an effective, easy and safe manner”.
According to the general plan, which was announced by the central government in early September, the scope of the cooperation zone covers the customs supervision territory between the “first-tier” and “second-tier” subzones on Hengqin island, occupying some 106 square kilometres.
The area that lies between Hengqin and Macao is regarded as the “first-tier” subzone, while the area that lies between Hengqin and other areas within the customs territory of the mainland is regarded as the “second-tier” subzone.
Macao’s Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak and Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U also attended the ceremony.
After attending the ground-breaking ceremony, Ho and Ma attended a signing ceremony for 12 investment projects, and an unveiling ceremony for four community projects.
The dozen business projects, four of them invested by Macao companies or businesspeople, will cover areas such as integrated circuits, electronic information, biomedicine, traditional Chinese medicine, big health and modern finance.
The four community projects that were unveiled yesterday are an experimental school run by Beijing’s Capital Normal University, a family activity centre, a training base for health and medical services and a demonstration post for domestic service, The Macau Post Daily reported.