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Transcript of CE's press conference on Policy Address (With video)

    Following is the transcript (English portion) of the press conference given by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at the Central Government Offices New Annexe after delivering his Policy Address in the Legislative Council today (October 10):

Reporter: Regarding infrastructure. You mentioned all the benefits that will come but you don't mention the total cost. If you have that figure I would appreciate it. Secondly, I think a lot of people, particularly overseas, will be curious about whether there's a philosophy being espoused here on the Government's role in the economy. Looking at these 10 infrastructure projects, for example, it would seem very aggressive, perhaps even interventionist and you did mention in your talk that you were eschewing the extremes of this debate. What exactly is the philosophy we see at work here?

Chief Executive: Our philosophy remains the same. We want to have a big market and a small government. Public spending in terms of GDP should not exceed 20% of the whole. This has been the guiding principle of this Administration and we will not depart from this. This is a very important discipline. But we should not stick to a very doctrinal rule. Certain things should be done by the Government and no one else. And some things should be done by the private sector and by no one else. There's always some blurred area here and we should not be doctrinaire in this. As far as the capital requirement for the 10 infrastructure projects, we have done some rough estimates. It is roughly about $250 billion, the bulk of which will be private sector investment, some of which will be public sector will be government spending. We must not forget that in itself will generate economic benefits in excess of $100 billion every year.

Reporter: I would like to ask a few questions on your efforts to tackle pollution. You have set out a few initiatives in your Address and how sufficient are they. Cutting corporate taxes is no doubt attractive to foreign investors ….

Chief Executive: One question.

Reporter: How high is tackling pollution on your to-do list and what else can the Government do to actually tackle this problem once and for all?

Chief Executive: There isn't such a thing as once and for all. We are always going to try our very best to clean up our air, make sure our solid waste is properly disposed of, and our water is pure. This will be a continuous effort of this government. These efforts rank very high on the priority list of this Administration. It will feature in each and every Policy Address of mine. I will account for our achievements or our failure in this regard to the public, very clearly. But this is surely a matter of great importance to us, to our competitiveness in the long-run and we will do it not only by ourselves by the various measures I outlined in my Policy Address but also by co-operating with our neighbours in Guangdong.

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

Ends/Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Issued at HKT 18:10


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