At the opening of the International Conference on the Equine Disease Free Zone (ICEDFZ) on Tuesday, Hong Kong SAR and Chinese Mainland authorities signed four memoranda of understanding reinforcing policies and procedures governing the operation of the biosecurity zone in the Conghua District of Guangzhou and related horse movement arrangements between the Club’s new Conghua Training Centre and Hong Kong.
This biosecurity zone is the only internationally-recognised Equine Disease Free Zone (EDFZ) in the Chinese Mainland. The signing of the memoranda facilitates the opening of the Conghua Training Centre in August 2018 in support of the further development of Hong Kong racing. The ICEDFZ is jointly hosted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong SAR.
Mr Yang Guohai, Vice Director-General of Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, the People’s Republic of China (left of the front row) and Dr Leung Siu Fai, Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation of the Hong Kong SAR (right of the front row) sign the “Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Support of Guangzhou Racecourse as a Key Project and the Joint Promotion of Horseracing Related Industries in Greater Bay Area”
“This biosecurity zone in the Conghua District of Guangzhou, together with the accompanying horse movement arrangements, will enable the Club to continue enhancing its world-class racing and sustain its position as Hong Kong’s single largest tax payer and one of the world’s top ten charity donors,” Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club said.
“The Conghua project is another exemplary achievement of Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation, which in due course, will take on a more ambitious vision through the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development... the EDFZ and the Conghua Training Centre would augur well for the long term plan of developing equestrian sport in the Bay Area,” Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR said at the opening ceremony.
Under the EDFZ, Hong Kong horses will have the same health status whether they are stabled and trained in Sha Tin or at the Club’s world-class Conghua Training Centre, due to open in August 2018. They can travel between both locations and race in Hong Kong, including against overseas horses in international races.
“None of this would have been possible without the strong and close bonds between Hong Kong and the motherland, which we are celebrating in this 20th anniversary year of the Hong Kong SAR,” Dr Ip said. “In particular I would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture; the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine; the Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau; the Department of Agriculture of Guangdong Province; as well as the Food and Health Bureau, and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of the Hong Kong SAR.”
The ICEDFZ brings together delegates from Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and other experts in horse movements from 18 countries and regions. Speakers include Mr Li Yuanping, Vice Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the People’s Republic of China, and Mr Ye Anping, Vice Director-General of International Cooperation Office/ HK-Macao Office, Ministry of Agriculture, the People’s Republic of China.
“The signing of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Support of Guangzhou Racecourse as a Key Project in the Promotion of the Establishment of Greater Bay Area’ (《關於推動粵港澳大灣區建設支持廣州馬場重點項目合作備忘錄》) today will see the launch of even more convenient measures to streamline entry procedures and ensure safety, including allowing multiple approvals of a single quarantine permit for horses travelling between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, the setting up of a back-up checkpoint and biosecurity channels,” Mr Li Yuanping said.
“The Ministry of Agriculture places great importance on the setting up and management of the biosecurity zone in Conghua. It has been in close contact with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of the Hong Kong SAR and the Hong Kong Jockey Club to organise and implement measures to standardise the assessment of horses travelling between the Hong Kong SAR and the Conghua EDFZ with the aim of promoting ease of travel for racehorses,” Mr Ye Anping said in his remarks.
The ICEDFZ gives delegates the opportunity to explore the nature and function of the EDFZ from international and Chinese Mainland perspectives, as well as how authorities are working together to support the EDFZ. The delegates will visit the Conghua Training Centre tomorrow (13 December) to understand first-hand the operation of the EDFZ.