Remarks by Chief Executive on GST

    Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, on goods and services tax at the Central Government Offices this morning (December 5):

     This morning, the Financial Secretary made an interim report on the current consultation as regards our tax structure reform and he already explained how we are going to handle the remainder of the consultation process.

     All the members of the Executive Council and myself fully support the decision of the Financial Secretary. We believe that the decision he has made respects fully the wishes of Hong Kong people that we should seriously consider widening our tax base. At the same time he has paid full regard to the strong opposition of the people to the introduction of GST at this time.

     I have all along emphasised the importance of gaining sufficient public support in formulating public policy, so the way that the Financial Secretary has proposed to do is in accordance with that view and it is certainly a pragmatic way of going forward. And it deserves all public support.

     Thank you very much.

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

Ends/Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Issued at HKT 11:38