Speech by CE at 2014 Hong Kong Awards for Industries presentation ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the presentation ceremony for the 2014 Hong Kong Awards for Industries at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this evening (December 18):

Professor Chan, distinguished guests, government colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. A warm welcome to the 2014 Hong Kong Awards for Industries (HKAI) Award Presentation Ceremony.

     It is a great pleasure to join you tonight. We are, of course, here to honour outstanding Hong Kong companies who have made remarkable achievements over the past year.

     As you know, 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the HKAI. Like the HKAI, Hong Kong has evolved tremendously over this past quarter of a century, has grown to embrace services as well as industry, to become the "super-connector" between the Mainland of China and the rest of the world, and to champion excellence and innovation in everything we do. But there is a lot more that government and industries can do, and should do, together.

     Tonight's award winners have demonstrated beyond doubt vision and dedication, with outstanding insight into today's marketplace and what it takes to succeed. They take their companies, and offerings, confidently into the future. And, because of them, Hong Kong is energised, has more to offer and more to work with, in this competitive global economy.

     The Government believes that it has a positive role to play in growing the economy. This Government also believes that nothing but a strong and growing economy can provide opportunities of upward mobility of our people, including our young people. We also believe that nothing but a strong and growing economy can lift the living standards of the 7 million people of Hong Kong. Our people are conscientious and diligent. They believe in self-help and have outstanding work ethics. All they need are opportunities.

     Our industries contribute significantly to the Hong Kong economy. Which is why supporting our industries is a priority of my policy agenda. In recent years, we have implemented various measures. To name just a few:

- The Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales and the Export Marketing Fund help companies explore the markets of Mainland China and overseas.
- the Loan Guarantee Scheme eases their access to finance.
- the Design-Business Collaboration Scheme and the Innovation and Technology Fund help companies take advantage of good design, while encouraging them to upgrade their technology.

     For the longer-term development of our economy, I launched the Economic Development Commission to provide vision, strategy and direction in broadening Hong Kong's economic base and enhancing our business opportunities. In particular, the Commission will recommend policy measures to support our industries.

     Furthermore, the Government believes that Hong Kong industries are Hong Kong industries wherever they are. The Government is keen to provide the necessary support not only in Hong Kong but also outside of Hong Kong. Two weeks ago, I was in Huizhou of Guangdong Province visiting Hong Kong industries operating there. We shall step up our efforts on the Mainland and in other parts of the world to grow Hong Kong's economy.

     For the same reason, the Government commenced negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July this year. Negotiation has been smooth so far. The FTA will ensure that goods and services from Hong Kong can enter the 10 ASEAN member states under more favourable conditions; and facilitate and promote more investment flows. It will not only create more business opportunities, but also strengthen the role of Hong Kong as a "super-connector".

     To match our ambitions to grow our external economy, and to realise our pledge to support Hong Kong businesses, Hong Kong needs more official dots on the world map. So far in Asia and outside of China, we have official representations only in Tokyo and Singapore. We are now working on the opening of another new Economic and Trade Office in Asia. In the Mainland of China, the new Wuhan Office has commenced operation in April this year.

     The success of the HKAI reflects the strong partnership among industry, academia and government. This is an opportune time to thank the Organising Committee, the co-organisers, sponsors, media partners and supporting organisations. My thanks, as well, to our panel of judges.

     Ladies and gentlemen, let me congratulate the winners of the 2014 Awards again for their outstanding achievements. And let us remember that the ultimate winner is Hong Kong.

     I know you will enjoy this very special evening, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, December 18, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:36