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FS' transcript


Following is the transcript (English portion) of a media session given by the Financial Secretary, Mr Antony Leung, today (February 25) at the Main Wing Lobby of the Central Government Offices on the Concluding Statement of the annual Article IV Consultation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the HKSAR:

Financial Secretary: We welcome the IMF Article IV Consultation as a useful external audit exercise. The Mission's comments on our economic and financial situation are fair and balanced. We noted that the Mission has continued to state its support for the linked exchange rate system. We reiterate here that the Government has no plan to change the linked exchange rate system.

We also agree that a credible and effective strategy to address the fiscal deficit problem is critical in maintaining market confidence about the Link over the medium term.

We agree with the Mission's suggestion that we should implement sizeable structural deficit reduction measures in the fiscal year 2003-04. There should also be a commitment to more structural consolidation supported by concrete measures in the next three years. The Government has accorded top priority in addressing the deficit situation. We will put in place concrete measures to restore budget balance in the year of 2006-07. I will make the appropriate announcement in this respect next week when I deliver my Budget Speech.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)

End/Tuesday, February 25, 2003


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