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Conference on "Global and China's Economy and Hong Kong's Future Development" held in HK

     The Central Policy Unit of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region today (September 28) held a conference on "Global and China's Economy and Hong Kong's Future Development".

     Prominent scholars and experts from overseas, the Mainland and Hong Kong were invited to the conference to assess the global macro-economic situation, explore the future development of the Mainland, and examine how global trends and national economic outlook shaped the formation of the National 12th Five-Year Plan. It is hoped that the conference stimulated discussions on how Hong Kong could further support and assist the development of the country in general, and how Hong Kong could set the stage for its long-term development in the context of the preparation of the plan in particular.

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, indicated in his speech that Hong Kong had been playing a special role in bringing  foreign investment into the Mainland in the past 30 years of China's reform. Stepping into the next stage of national development, Hong Kong should, under the principle of "one country, two systems", seriously examine its unique role and explore development opportunities in the context of the national "going out" strategy.

     The Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Mr Liu Tienan, gave a keynote speech entitled "China's Overall Economic Situation and A Few Issues of Concern". He said that the Chinese Government had taken decisive actions in a timely manner to adjust the direction and intensity of the macro economy over the past year. To tackle the international financial crisis, a basket of measures had been launched to promote economic recovery by expanding domestic demand. Along with the objective of maintaining economic growth, attention was also given to the improvement of the livelihood of the urban and rural communities, the promotion of structural adjustment, the reduction of energy consumption and pollutant emission, the development of the ecology, the strengthening of the position of agriculture, and the reduction of regional gaps.

     To date, the objectives of maintaining economic growth, adjusting the structure, promoting and deepening reforms, and enhancing people's livelihood have been met and significant results have been achieved, Mr Liu said.  

     He indicated that, in the future, while continuous efforts should be made in tackling the financial crisis, special attention should also be given to some of the key concerns and critical issues which affect the long-term development of China's economy, to lay a solid foundation for moving towards a moderately prosperous society. In response to these key concerns and critical issues, Mr Liu signalled that the Chinese Government would strive to maintain stable but rapid economic growth by expanding domestic demand, to adjust and optimise the industrial structure by enhancing innovative capacity, to promote balanced regional development by adjusting and optimising the urban-rural structure, to promote the people-oriented social development strategy by upgrading social services, and to further develop the ecology by conserving energy and protecting the environment. Overall, the Government saw the deepening of reforms as a fundamental driving force geared towards the promotion of a dynamic institutional mechanism to achieve a mutually beneficial strategy that would eventually elevate the status of the country's open economy.

     Mr Liu stressed that the country and Hong Kong should give full play to the advantages brought by the principle of "one country, two systems". The strengthening of economic exchanges and co-operation in the service sector, the emerging industries, and the development of regional infrastructures between the two places shed important light not only on overcoming the economic crisis but also on creating a partnership to meet global competition.

     Mr Tang mentioned five areas in which Hong Kong could contemplate its role and position in the context of the broader national development strategy. Firstly, Hong Kong should strengthen its bridging role between the Mainland and the world. Secondly, Hong Kong could facilitate the country's economic transformation and industry upgrading, and promote the development of modern service industries in the Mainland. Hong Kong could serve as the country's experimental area in RMB internationalisation and in the reform of national financial systems. Thirdly, Hong Kong could serve as a model for the Mainland to establish its own market system, industry standards, and urban and social management systems. Fourthly, Hong Kong could serve as the key engine driving regional co-operation and development in the Greater Pearl River Delta region. And finally, Hong Kong could draw on its world-class manpower training services and higher education, and serve as a training base for Mainland talent and professionals.

     The SAR Government attaches great importance to its participation in the preparation of the National 12th Five-Year Plan, and will take the initiative to ensure that development between Hong Kong and the Mainland, and in particular coordinated development in the Pearl River Delta region, would be beneficial to overall national development. Today's conference provided a useful reference for Hong Kong in considering its role in the preparatory work of the plan.

     Other distinguished scholars and experts addressed various aspects of the theme on the global economy and China's economy. Columbia University economist and 1999 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences Professor Robert Mundell gave a keynote speech entitled "International Monetary Reform and the RMB: The Way Forward". Distinguished Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of "The Black Swan", delivered another keynote speech entitled "The Black Swan Risks Are Still with Us" and offered his views on the global economy. Keynote speakers from the Mainland included Chairman of China International Capital Corporation Limited Mr Li Jiange, who gave a speech entitled "Sustaining the Vigour of Policies and Staying on the Course of Reform and Opening Up"; and Director of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Professor Li Xiangyang, who gave a speech entitled "External Uncertainty China Faces in Post-international Financial Crisis Era". Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Professor Lawrence J Lau and Hong Kong Baptist University economist Professor Tsang Shu-ki exchanged views on the future of national development.

     Chairman of Hang Lung Group and Hang Lung Properties Mr Ronnie Chan and Chairman of Wheelock & Co Ltd and Wharf (Holdings) Ltd Mr Peter Woo were moderators of the panel discussions. More than 500 participants comprising community leaders, representatives of Mainland and foreign institutions in Hong Kong, and senior Government officials attended today's conference.

Ends/Monday, September 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:41


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