A cooperation arrangement was signed on Saturday between the mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on the co-location arrangement at the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL).
The agreement marks the first step by the two sides in taking forward relevant tasks of co-location arrangement pursuant to the "Three-step Process."
Governor of Guangdong Province Ma Xingrui and HKSAR Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor signed the cooperation arrangement in Hong Kong at noon, signifying the formal commencement of the "Three-Step Process" by the mainland and HKSAR in jointly proceeding with the relevant work for implementing the clearance procedures of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL.
According to the arrangement, both sides agreed to establish a port at the West Kowloon Station of the HKSAR to implement co-location arrangement whereby both sides will, in accordance with their respective laws, exercise exit and entry regulation, including immigration inspection, customs regulation, and inspection and quarantine measures etc., on departing and arriving people travelling between the mainland and Hong Kong, as well as their personal belongings and luggage.
"As a cross-boundary high-speed rail, efficient and time-saving clearance procedures are absolutely essential to realizing the full potential of the XRL in terms of speed and convenience," Lam said.
Implementing co-location arrangement will enable passengers to travel between different destinations across the country with ease and convenience, and allow Hong Kong to provide a direct high-speed rail service to an increasing number of the mainland cities.
This will fully unleash the transport, social and economic benefits of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL, Lam said.
After the signing, Hong Kong and the mainland will jointly seek a decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress approving and endorsing the arrangement, and then commence the local legislative process.
Both sides will also seek to meet the target of implementing the co-location arrangement at the West Kowloon Station upon the commissioning of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL in the third quarter of 2018.