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Transcript of remarks by CE at question-and-answer session of Joint Business Community Luncheon 2015 (1) (English only)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the question-and-answer session of the Joint Business Community Luncheon 2015 held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today (February 9):

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Our Chief Executive, Mr Leung, has just explained the philosophy behind his third Policy Address. In general, we welcome this Policy Address because it is practical and prudent, and it has responded to some recommendations made by the business sector. But for whatever proposals we made which are not yet mentioned in this Policy Address, we promise to our members to follow up. Before taking questions from the floor, I may start with the first question. As all we know that most of our manufacturers have the production facilities in Pearl River Delta, but the cost of production in there is getting higher and higher every year, and the labour issues is also a headache for them. So many of our members are considering to move some of their value-added work processes back to Hong Kong. May I ask that our government would support this idea and how?

Chief Executive: Thank you, Stanley, for the question. I, myself, and the Government have been doing our very best in supporting our manufacturing - I used the word "our" - manufacturing industries outside of Hong Kong, particularly in the Pearl River Delta area, and that's why every December I go with you to this "Thousand People Banquet", essentially organised for our manufacturers and their staff in the Pearl River Delta region. I think the competition for one resource amongst others is going to be a challenge, and this is land, the land resource. We all know how valuable land is and how scarce it is as a resource in Hong Kong. In response to the point you made, the Lands Department have set aside a piece of land in Kwai Chung as a pilot and designated it for industrial use. I believe the tender sale actually closed a week ago. And then this is to satisfy the need of industries establishing or re-establishing themselves in Hong Kong. But I have to say industrial use has to compete for land resources in Hong Kong, and that may be a challenge.

Moderator: OK. Thank you. Thank you, CE. So I'm sure many of you would have other questions for Mr Leung. So if you have any questions, please put your hand up and identify yourself and show your table number please. Table 31.

Question: Chief Executive, in your Policy Address you have done a lot for housing the Hong Kong needy. The Hong Kong people thank you for this. We, as the business community, are actually interested in your proposal to the Central Government, 13th National Five-Year Plan. Could you give us some details on this and how the business community can benefit from this? Thank you.

Chief Executive: The Hong Kong Government started very early in discussing with the National Development and Reform Commission, NDRC, on what the new Five-Year Plan, which will kick in in about 12 months' time, should contain for the benefit of Hong Kong. In fact, amongst all the local authorities of the country, Hong Kong was the first one to submit its proposals. At the moment, we are down to nine which will probably go into the 13th Five-Year Plan. Quite a long list and nine are the major heads, and then we have sub-heads and so on. The Central Government have been very supportive. Essentially we are looking at a number of sectors that are the winners for Hong Kong and also sectors that are nascent to Hong Kong. I don't have a list with me, but financial services is obviously there. It's high on the list. As I said in my address, it is a major sector for Hong Kong, contributing 16 per cent of our GDP. We should be able to announce as soon as the Central Government is ready.

Moderator: OK. The next one is going to table number 29.

Question: I'm Shirley Chan from Chinese Manufacturers' Association. Our association, CMA, better known as, we highly appreciate the setting up of this Innovation and Technology Bureau. My question is, actually what is the latest progress of this forming up of this bureau, and then, after it's set up, in what ways can this bureau help the Government support our Hong Kong manufacturers operating in the Pearl River Delta? Thank you.

Chief Executive: Thank you for the question. We need to move up the value chain, and that's why we need innovation and technology to help the Hong Kong economy and more particularly Hong Kong businesses. There is also a livelihood dimension to innovation and technology. Both innovation and technology can help life in Hong Kong, make it more efficient, comfortable and safe. So it is both an economic initiative and also a livelihood initiative. We are left with eight hours after all this filibustering - eight hours on coming Saturday. If LegCo members, and these are the opposition members of LegCo, do not give up filibustering, we'll probably lose ITB, definitely for a few months. It will be very sad for Hong Kong. It's actually our second attempt. Our first attempt was when I was still Chief Executive designate. We put a motion before the then Legislative Council and again because of loss of time due to filibustering they couldn't pass it before the end of the last LegCo term. And then we had a new LegCo and therefore we had to sort of start the whole process again. It's not the first or only casualty of filibustering. It is something that LegCo must seriously look at. I know we need a majority in both sides of the house, both the geographical constituency and the functional constituency sides of the house, to pass any motion to amend the rules and procedures of LegCo. And I think Hong Kong people should speak up and speak out, and Hong Kong people probably want to cast a vote according to their view on filibustering when it's election day again sometime next year.

(To be continued.)

Ends/Monday, February 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:49


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