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Transcript of remarks by FS at Budget press conference (with photos/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the Budget press conference at Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (February 25):

Reporter: I'd like to ask for your comments on support for the creative industries. Could you confirm you will be allocating support for the fashion industry, and, if so, could you comment on the importance of this sector?

Financial Secretary: The fashion industry, actually in fact in the past the textiles industry, the clothing industry, has always been a major force in terms of Hong Kong's industries - a very important sector. Now that we have moved up the supply chain ladder, a lot of the factories are now done overseas, a lot of it in the Pearl River Delta, in the ASEAN countries and so forth. But Hong Kong is still retained as the headquarters for a lot of these industries, where they do front end and the back end type of work, and of all of that, the fashion design is a very key aspect because nowadays, as we move up the ladder, the brand names are extremely important, I mean it's worth a lot of money. The same shirt, whether it's branded or not branded, has a really huge difference. So we want to build up that sort of talent in Hong Kong. We know that we have a lot of talent in this area, and what we need is to give it a little boost. And I think we would be able to do that if we put in some money so that we can help some of our would-be Vivienne Tams or that kind of designer, so that they can get more experience, get more training, get more exposure. We can help them along and continue to have that industry as a key part of our whole economy.

Reporter: I wanted to ask, why did you feel it was necessary to provide relief measures for businesses and trades affected by the occupy movement first? Do you think they suffered more than those living under poverty or other low-income families or grass-roots families that suffer more throughout the year? And secondly, regarding ....

Financial Secretary: Can I answer this question first?

Reporter: Sure. Thank you.

Financial Secretary: Actually, the entire basket of measures cover a pretty big range, and not just firms that were affected by the occupy movement, and I have mentioned earlier in fact what we have found, pre-occupy movement and post-occupy movement, a number of sectors were quite affected by that and I think we need to demonstrate our concern for them. But, more importantly, I think we need to inject some funding to help improve the business sentiment as well as the perception people have overseas about Hong Kong, because we are an externally oriented economy and what concerns international investors, what concerns overseas tourists, are big concerns to us and I think we need to remedy the situation.

Reporter: OK. And my second question is about GST. The last time it was brought up, it was very, very unpopular. Why do you think that we should reconsider this, and when would be the appropriate time?

Financial Secretary: If you have other suggestions, I would really be happy to consider it. But GST was something that was raised before, and from time to time people are still raising that as a possibility, and this is not something that I would ignore.

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

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:17


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