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Speech by CE at reception in celebration of 16th anniversary of establishment of HKSAR (with photos/video)

     Following is the translation of the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the reception in celebration of the 16th anniversary of the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (July 1):

Fellow Hong Kong people, distinguished guests, colleagues,

     Today marks the 16th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the first anniversary of the fourth-term Government of the HKSAR.

     In my election campaign, I collected the views and proposals of people from all districts and all walks of life, and incorporated them into my Manifesto.  At that time, I made it clear that my Manifesto was not only for election, but also for administration.

     Thanks to the support and co-ordinated efforts of my political team and civil servant colleagues, the current-term Government implemented in the past year some of the policies that I advocated in my Manifesto, making some progress with initial achievements.  To be accountable to the general public and to be monitored by the society at large, the current-term SAR Government published on the internet last Tuesday a report on its work in its first year.  I hope that all of you will continue to monitor the work of the Government, and I believe that all my colleagues in the Government will continue to do their best to serve the community.  

     In the past year, the current-term Government also responded to a number of issues, including the influx of pregnant Mainland mothers whose husbands are not Hong Kong residents to give birth in Hong Kong with or without appointment and the subsequent problems concerning clearance procedures for cross-boundary school children and their admission to local schools, multiple-entry permits to non-residents of Shenzhen, shortage of baby formula, and disruptions at train stations caused by parallel goods traders.  We have also handled several major unforeseen incidents originated locally or from further afield.

     Housing remains the policy area of greatest public concern.  The SAR Government has managed to curb the upward trend of property prices, thus changing the perception that property prices can only rise. At the same time, we are striving to increase land supply in the short, medium and long terms.  The SAR Government has already secured sufficient land to meet the target set by the previous-term Government of developing 75,000 public rental housing units in five years, and has been working hard to raise the production target to meet the demand from eligible people as early as possible.  Since the shortage of commercial and industrial property and consistently high rental levels are not conducive to economic development, the SAR Government is increasing the supply of land for commercial and industrial use while also making available more residential sites.

     The SAR Government will also alleviate and solve progressively other long-standing livelihood issues, including poverty, an ageing society and the environment through promoting economic growth.

     A major task of the current-term Government is the implementation of universal suffrage for the Chief Executive Election in 2017 in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law and the relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. With the greatest sincerity and commitment, the SAR Government will launch a consultation at an appropriate juncture.  We hope that people holding divergent views can set aside their differences and seek consensus as far as possible in an accommodating, pragmatic and peaceful manner.

     Today is also the tenth anniversary of the promulgation of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).  Since 2003, the Mainland has been opening up its market to different sectors in Hong Kong, including commerce and trade, financial and professional services, through the CEPA Main Text and the annual Supplements.  The Mainland market is huge and making good use of CEPA as early as possible is vitally important to Hong Kong.  Therefore, I have proposed in my Manifesto that a new joint working group be set up to help resolve problems arising from the implementation of CEPA. With the support of the Central Government and Mainland provinces and cities, the joint working group established by the SAR Government, six central ministries and seven departments of the People's Government of Guangdong Province held its first meeting 13 days ago.  During the meeting it was agreed that the market access conditions will be further relaxed for various sectors in Hong Kong, including the film sector, accounting services, architectural sector, general practice surveying and real estate appraising sector, property management sector and the medical sector.  We are grateful to the country's preferential policy and will at the same time contribute to the development of our country.

     Ladies and gentlemen, opportunities and challenges exist side by side in the future development of Hong Kong.  In the past, Hong Kong has overcome numerous political, economic and social problems.  Today, as we celebrate the 16th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, we can also look back on the challenges we faced before its establishment and gain confidence in addressing the existing problems from the successful implementation of "One Country, Two Systems".

     In the coming years, the Government will continue to seek change while maintaining stability.  We will put people first and serve them in a pragmatic and proactive manner.  We aim to make even greater progress in addressing political, social, economic and livelihood issues.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, July 1, 2013
Issued at HKT 08:42


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