2009-10 Policy Address by Chief Executive (6)

Environmental Industries

Cleaner Production Partnership Programme

36. The Government allocated $93 million last year to jointly launch the five-year Cleaner Production Partnership Programme with Guangdong.  Under the programme, the Hong Kong Productivity Council provides professional services in conjunction with over 100 environmental technology service providers in the PRD region to help factories there adopt cleaner production technologies. The programme also facilitates the exchange of information on environmental technology and the promotion of environmental technology and services, creating business opportunities for our service providers. Responses from the trades have been positive.  Since the launch of the programme in April last year, the programme has approved over 330 projects up to end-September this year.

37. To complement Guangdong's policy on the development of industrial parks and to provide technical support for our manufacturers relocating to the parks, the Government will extend the scope of the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme to assist Hong Kong enterprises in treating and reducing effluent discharge.  This will improve the environment of the region and increase the competitiveness of the enterprises.

Clean Development Mechanism Projects

38. The United Nations has devised the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to encourage technology transfer and help countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  At present about one-third of all CDM projects are being carried out in the Mainland, involving substantial capital and major technology transfer.  The Government has recently succeeded in securing approval for eligible Hong Kong enterprises to participate in CDM projects in the Mainland.  Energy efficiency projects and the development of new or renewable energy are areas where green business opportunities are open to Hong Kong enterprises.

Government Green Procurement

39. The Government is committed to promoting green procurement. This can protect the environment and set a role model for the business sector, lending momentum to the development of environmental industries in Hong Kong.  To improve air quality, when procuring government vehicles, the Government will give preference to models which comply with environmental and efficiency standards, and has taken the lead with the procurement of 10 electric vehicles this year.  Furthermore, the Government is gradually replacing the conventional traffic signals with light-emitting diode (LED) traffic signals.  With regard to stores procurement, the Government has been expanding its green procurement list. At present, we have developed green specifications for some 60 products commonly used by government departments, and will actively apply them in procurement procedures. We will also further devise green procurement guidelines for government departments in order to promote the green procurement policy.

Innovation and Technology

40. The Government has been actively promoting the development of innovation and technology.  The share of enterprises in Hong Kong's total expenditure on research and development (R&D) steadily increased from less than 30% in 2001 to nearly 50% in 2007. The Government will allocate about $200 million to launch an "R&D Cash Rebate Scheme", under which enterprises conducting applied R&D projects with the support of the Innovation and Technology Fund or in partnership with local designated research institutions will enjoy a cash rebate equivalent to 10% of their investments. We hope this scheme will inculcate a research culture among enterprises and encourage them to establish long-term partnerships with research institutions.  As a result, the R&D capabilities of Hong Kong and the competitiveness of enterprises will be enhanced, and more business and employment opportunities will be created.  We will review the effectiveness of the scheme three years after its implementation.

Cultural and Creative Industries

41. I announced last year the setting up of a dedicated office to expedite the development of creative industries.  Create Hong Kong was set up in June this year to co-ordinate the work of different departments.  The CreateSmart Initiative launched recently has been warmly received by the industry.

Expanding the Mainland Market

42. The vast Mainland market is of prime importance to the development of our creative industries.  We have opened up the Mainland market for them through CEPA.  Take the film industry as an example.  Since the implementation of CEPA, preferential treatment has been given to our local film industry in such areas as distribution of films (including both Hong Kong productions and Hong Kong-Mainland co-productions) and video products, cinema operation and post-production. At present, films jointly produced with the Mainland are treated as Mainland productions for the purpose of distribution in the Mainland. Because of this advantage, we have seen notable growth and breakthroughs in the output, scale and box office receipts of Hong Kong-Mainland co-productions in the past few years. Of the top 10 box office hits in the Mainland in 2008, six were Hong Kong-Mainland co-productions.  The latest supplement to CEPA introduces further liberalisation measures for the creative industries, covering films, publishing and printing, and online game products.  We will continue to support local industries to further develop the Mainland market through consultation with the relevant Mainland authorities under the CEPA framework.

Developing the Local Market

43. To develop a local market for culture, we will work closely with the arts sector and our community to produce high quality arts programmes.  We will promote arts in schools through the new senior secondary school curriculum.  We will nurture artists and arts administrators by providing training and internship programmes.  The West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) is a major project for promoting cultural development and our creative industries.  Upon its completion, the WKCD will offer world-class facilities and quality programmes.  We have started to draw up specific plans for the project and launched a public engagement exercise to gauge the views of various sectors on the development blueprint, facilities and programmes of the WKCD.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 11:42