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CE's speech at Spring Reception at Government House (with photos)

     Following is a translated summary of the speech given by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at the Spring Reception at Government House today (February 1):

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. Today is the first occasion that many of us have met in the Year of the Dragon. So, let me start by wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year.

     The Year of the Dragon will see new terms of government in Hong Kong, China and many Western countries, including some members of the Security Council of the United Nations. These changes fit well with the dragon's very changeable characteristics, as described in ancient Chinese legends.

     As the boom created by high leverage in Western countries comes to an end, it is predicted that the world economy is set for a major downturn. Indeed, we face complicated economic conditions with the eurozone debt crisis, the sluggish recovery of the US economy, and the continued quantitative easing of many exporting countries and emerging markets to try to stimulate their economies.

     As a highly open and externally oriented economy, Hong Kong faces downside risks or even recession. With challenges and uncertainties lying ahead, all financial institutions, enterprises and members of the public must remain vigilant and cautious.

     Of course, the Government must also do its job well. The Financial Secretary announced in his final Budget today a wide range of measures to help small and medium enterprises and different strata of the community in handling the impact of a possible economic downturn.

     Given our versatility and resilience, we will not be passive. We will capitalise on our special position in the National 12th Five-Year Plan and the enormous opportunities brought about by the internationalisation of the Renminbi. Two months ago, we signed Supplement VIII to CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) with the Mainland to extend liberalisation measures to 47 service sectors, offering huge development potential for Hong Kong's service providers.

     The next Chief Executive Election is just around the corner. A new Chief Executive will host the Spring Reception next year. Some things change, but my passion for Hong Kong and my faith in Hong Kong people will not. Aligning our strengths and opportunities, and working together hand in hand, I am certain Hong Kong will continue to thrive.

     Last but not least, I wish our country and all Hong Kong people a year of affluence and good health - and as the Chinese dragon promises - good fortune, vigour and strength. Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:38


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