Following is the speech (translation) made by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, at the Opening Ceremony of the Zhuhai World Economic Development Declaration Conference in Zhuhai:
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am honoured to attend this ceremony to celebrate the "World Economic Development Declaration" on behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
The objective of World Economic Development Declaration is to promote the establishment of a new international economic order characterised by equality, mutual benefit, interdependence and common development. This far-sighted objective is fully in line with the realisation of economic globalisation. In the face of keen competition stemming from economic globalisation, all world economies will need to embrace this belief of mutual benefit if we are to attain the common goal of sustainable economic development.
As I see it, the issuance of the World Economic Development Declaration shows that upon its accession to the World Trade Organization, China does not only strive for its own economic growth. On its own volition, it has undertaken the international obligation to lay down a solid foundation for co-operation among world economies. We are all here for a good cause.
Limited in geographical size and natural resources, Hong Kong recognises the role of free trade in its economy and has always been its staunch supporter. We have consciously maintained a level playing field for our trading partners, treating all local and foreign investors alike. Indeed, Hong Kong has owed its thriving economy to the unfettered flow of goods and services. Thanks to its free trade policy, Hong Kong has become the 10th largest trade area in the world and a major financial and commercial centre in the Asia-Pacific Region. Our annual total volume of trade almost doubled our GDP for the same year. In the past decades, Hong Kong has given full play to the advantages of free trade and acted as China's main window to the world in the course of the Mainland's reform and pursuance of an opening up policy. In this context, our contribution ranges from the introduction of capital and goods, to the provision of management expertise.
Today, the Mainland is Hong Kong's largest trading partner, and more opportunities are coming our way along with further economic development. Hong Kong, as the country's Special Administrative Region and the Mainland's fourth largest trading partner, extends our warmest congratulations to the motherland on the issuance of the "World Economic Development Declaration". We are confident that the Declaration will foster communication, interaction and prosperity among world economies and bring benefits for all.
Ends/Thursday, November 6, 2003