CE's speech at China-Eurasia Economic Development and Co-operation Forum (with photo/video)

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, attended the China-Eurasia Forum on Economic Development and Co-operation: Achieving Win-Win Co-operation and Promoting Sustainable Development in Urumqi, Xinjiang today (September 1), and delivered a speech on giving full play to Hong Kong's advantages to create a multi-win situation. Following is the translation of the speech:

Vice Minister Fu (Ziying), Chairman Nur Bekri, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. Many thanks to the Ministry of Commerce and the People's Government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for inviting me to the 1st China-Eurasia Expo, and thus giving me the opportunity to revisit this beautiful region. I am very glad to share with you my thoughts on today's theme, " Achieving Win-Win Co-operation and Promoting Sustainable Development".

     This era of globalisation means that we live in a "global village". Notwithstanding the geographical disparity, people across the world face similar issues and challenges, such as global climate change and global financial turmoil. Advanced technologies and sophisticated transport networks connect people everywhere and draw countries much closer together. In such a fast-changing global environment, no country, region or economy can isolate itself from the rest of the world and stand on its own. Regions and countries around the globe are broadening cooperation and exchange to complement each other's strengths, so as to achieve mutual benefits, sustainable livelihoods and economic growth for all people.

     Adjacent to the eight countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, India and Afghanistan, and strategically located at the Eurasian Continental Bridge, Xinjiang is well positioned to be the country's bridgehead for opening up to, and promoting, collaboration with the Eurasian regions.

     In the face of gloom and weakening markets in Europe and the US, Hong Kong has in recent years strived to explore the emerging markets. Last year, I led a business delegation to Russia and India to promote our advantages as a premier IPO fund-raising platform and the tremendous business opportunities available here. Looking ahead, Xinjiang will present itself as our intermediary in tapping the emerging markets in central, western and southern Asia.

     China indeed plays a key role in Eurasian cooperation. As the country presses ahead with the development of the western region, Xinjiang's strategic significance, particularly in tapping the emerging Asian markets and Russia will only increase.  In pursuing the country's broader cooperation with Eurasia, Xinjiang has built up a solid foundation and abundant experience in helping industries "go out and bring in" investment.

     On bringing in investment, I remember ten years ago when I was Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, I led a business delegation to Urumqi and other western cities. Investors from both areas signed a number of joint ventures. Today, Hong Kong is still Xinjiang's most important source of funds. Last year, Xinjiang's actual realised fund from Hong Kong reached US$130 million, or 54% of the entire autonomous region's total actual realised investment from the outside. Hong Kong's accumulated investment in Xinjiang has grown to 400 items, covering textiles, light industries, food, petrochemicals, tourism, transport and other businesses.

     On helping industries "go out", Xinjiang and Hong Kong have always been working closely together. As at the end of last year, Xinjiang investment in Hong Kong totalled over US$30 million, and four Xinjiang corporations were listed on our stock market, raising a total of HK$13 billion at IPO. While Xinjiang is well endowed with natural resources, Hong Kong gives full play to its advantages as an international financial centre, providing world-class services and essential funds for Xinjiang development. By broadening economic and trade cooperation, the two regions can complement each other's strengths to create further success.

     The National - and regional - 12th Five-Year Plan calls for green development; a resource-efficient and environment-friendly society; scientific, reasonable and orderly exploration of resources; protection and restoration of ecology; and enhanced environmental protection. All of these are set out to pursue sustainable development for the country and Xinjiang. They will bring tremendous opportunities for co-operation, and in the process Hong Kong will continue to contribute its best in all areas.

     Hong Kong has profound experience in international trade and financial, logistics and shipping services. Whether it is in market development, business management or environmental protection, we can provide Xinjiang with the necessary platform and professional services to increase the flow of people, goods and funds. We can also help the region to connect more effectively with Eurasia and other parts of the world to open new markets and new horizons.

    For the first time, a chapter in the National 12th Five-Year Plan is dedicated to Hong Kong and Macao, highlighting our significance in the country's development strategies. They include consolidating and enhancing our position as an international financial, trade and shipping centre, supporting our development as a premier offshore Renminbi business centre and international asset management centre, as well as fostering economic co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong. We are ready to support the country and Xinjiang's development strategies and to give full play to our advantages to create success for all parties.

     Clearly, Xinjiang and other parts of the western region have achieved a high level of development over the past decade. The 1st China-Eurasia Expo comes at the right time to serve as an important platform for exchange between the country and Eurasian regions. I wish the Expo every success in promoting opportunities and well-being for people around the globe. Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, September 1, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:37