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Transcript of remarks by CS at HK/Shenzhen co-operation press conference (with photos/video)

     Following is a transcript of remarks by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Stephen Lam, at the press conference on the 2011 Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting at Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (November 25):

Reporter: Without the advantages of the Hong Kong legal system and dispute settlement mechanism, do you think Qianhai can attract the sort of business and investment that you would like to promote? Thank you.

Chief Secretary for Administration: Well, I would say that this development of Qianhai in Shenzhen is very critical, very important to Hong Kong, and it represents a tremendous opportunity. For more than 30 years, the opening up of the Mainland has allowed the industrialisation process to proceed and the industrial sector of Hong Kong to move northwards. That process has almost been completed, particularly in the coastal areas. Therefore the further opening up of Qianhai represents a tremendous opportunity for the financial services and professional services of Hong Kong to develop the Mainland markets.

     Even though Qianhai only has 15 square kilometres in geographical area, provided we have the right policies to facilitate the moving across the border by our financial companies and our professional firms, this will work because in different ways we have already seen how this works. There are now over 100 locations in Guangdong where banks of Hong Kong have been established. There are over 100 architects who have obtained qualifications to practise in the Mainland, over 700 surveyors who have obtained similar qualifications. Now that we have the 12th five-year national development plan stating that the Central Government will not only support but also enhance Hong Kong's further development as an international financial, trading and shipping centre, we can implement the 30-plus measures announced by Vice-Premier Li (Keqiang) when he visited Hong Kong in August.

     You also are particularly concerned about the dispute settlement system and the legal system in the Mainland. What I'd like to say is that actually the authorities in Shenzhen are very keen to allow Hong Kong professionals to practise in an environment in Qianhai where they feel comfortable. That is why today we have signed a memorandum of understanding between Shenzhen and Hong Kong that we will facilitate co-operation between the legal services and the arbitration bodies in Hong Kong and the Mainland so that the professionals in Hong Kong and the financial sector firms in Hong Kong will have services which they are familiar with when they operate in Qianhai. The professionals in Hong Kong and the financial firms in Hong Kong have had years of experience of operating in the Mainland. I feel confident that in future the facilities, the services and the conditions in Qianhai will surpass such conditions in other parts of the Mainland. Thank you very much.

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

Ends/Friday, November 25, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:52


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