More than 120 businessmen, academics, government officials and LegCo members attended the third annual economic forum today to brainstorm ideas on how to promote Hong Kong's service economy.
The event was jointly organised by the Business and Services Promotion Unit of the Financial Secretary's Office, the Hong Kong Coalition of Service Industries and the University of Hong Kong. The first two forums were tripartite forums that comprised academics, businessmen and government officials. This year, the event included legislative members to become a Quad Forum.
Speaking at the opening ceremony this (Monday) morning, the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, said that there would be further globalisation of trade and services and dominance of e-commerce in the new century. Coupled with China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), there would be a whole new level and dimension of trade.
The Financial Secretary expressed confidence in Hong Kong's economic future. He said the territory has strong fundamentals: solid physical and financial infrastructures, the rule of law and freedom of information, a long tradition of entrepreneurship and free markets, geographical proximity to China, and good knowledge and experience of the Mainland market.
"Given Hong Kong's competitive edge in services, I am confident that we will make significant gains from the liberalisation of Mainland's huge services market," Mr Tsang said.
But he pointed out that past success would not guarantee future economic security and emphasized the need to enhance productivity and competitiveness. "We cannot afford to be complacent. Other cities will eventually become more financially and economically sophisticated. We need to build on our strengths and seize opportunities on offer," he added.
Noting that the participation of everyone is needed to realise the common goal of maintaining Hong Kong's status as the best place in the world to do business, the Financial Secretary said he attached great importance to the forum today.
The discussions centered on the following subjects: HK's Strategic Positioning: Policies and Roles; Economic Relationship with Mainland; Technology in the Service Economy; and Tourism, Environment and Quality of Life.
The Forum will end with a dinner reception at the Government House. The keynote speaker will be the General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong Ltd, Mr Graham Brant.
End/Monday, November 29, 1999