Speech by CE at opening ceremony of 10th Eco Expo Asia (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the opening ceremony of the 10th Eco Expo Asia today (October 28):

Margaret, Jason, government colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good Morning.

     It is a pleasure to be here today for the opening of Eco Expo Asia, this year celebrating its 10th anniversary. A big welcome to those who have travelled a long way to join us for this special occasion.

     I am particularly grateful for the strong support from the Mainland of China, here with more than 30 delegations. They represent every level íV central, provincial and municipal. That only underlines the importance the Mainland places on environmental issues and, no less important, the value they see in this event - in Eco Expo Asia. That also underlines Hong Kong's special role as the "super-connector" between the rest of the country and the rest of the world.

     We all know why we are here. Environmental protection is the key to quality living, to sustainability. Since its launch, in 2006, Eco Expo has served as a premier showcase for the latest environmental products and services from Hong Kong, the Mainland of China, throughout Asia and around the world.

     The Expo's scale has more than doubled over the past decade, going from some 130 exhibitors at its launch to more than 300 exhibitors this year. At the same time, the number of product zones has expanded to cover virtually all aspects of the environmental agenda.

     For that, and more, I am grateful to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Messe Frankfurt (HK), along with everyone else who has contributed to making Eco Expo Asia the region's must-attend environmental fair.

     The show brings together a world of exhibitors and buyers, here to network and to do business. It also attracts leaders and environmental professionals from government, business and technology, in Hong Kong to discuss environmental issues of common - and critical - concern.

     I am pleased, too, to see that the fair's Public Day continues to grow, to spread environmental awareness to students and the general public. Taking the message to the community is essential, if we are to realise our environmental protection goals in the long term. I am sure those lucky 500 secondary students will enjoy their "Dialogue with the Secretary for the Environment." And I have no doubt that their input will be both challenging and constructive.

     One thing is clear. And that's this Government's commitment to green technology and the wider use of green products and services. We continue to support the environmental sector through a variety of financial incentive schemes, along with substantial investment in environmental infrastructure projects.

     On the funding side, we recently rolled out a HK$1 billion Recycling Fund, designed to support the sustainable development of the recycling industry. We have also allocated HK$11 billion for the phasing out of all pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles in Hong Kong. This will improve roadside air quality and help protect public health.

     In addition, we have set up a HK$300 million Pilot Green Transport Fund. This will support the testing of innovative technology for the public transport sector.

     We have, as well, extended the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme for five years, to 2020, in response to positive industry response. For this, we have earmarked HK$150 million. That money will be used to encourage Hong Kong-owned factories in Guangdong to adopt cleaner production technologies and practices.

     We are taking forward the design and construction of several major waste-management infrastructure projects, including Phase 1 of an integrated-waste management facility. It will have the capacity to treat 3,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a day. The estimated project cost is HK$18 billion. We are also planning for the development of a number of organic waste treatment facilities; they will recycle food waste into biogas for energy recovery and compost products.

     And there's more on the environmental horizon, including a recycling facility for waste electrical and electronic equipment at the EcoPark in Tuen Mun. Total project cost is HK$2 billion.

     All these are not expenditure. They are investments in environmental infrastructure and they demonstrate the commitment the Government has in improving the environment and in enhancing the quality of life for the people of Hong Kong.

     And I'm sure you are aware, the National 13th Five-Year Plan of the country, charting the course of our country's development between 2016 and 2020, will be made public early next year. Environmental protection and sustainable development will likely continue to receive high-level attention in the new plan.

     That will bring even more importance, more value, to Eco Expo Asia, as companies look to this fair to help them tap the Mainland's fast-growing environmental market.

     And we will continue to encourage Hong Kong's environmental industry to make good use of the liberalisation measures available under CEPA, a closer economic partnership agreement - our free-trade arrangement with the Mainland. Those advantages, of course, are available to any company, anywhere in the world, that partners with Hong Kong or sets up a company here.

     Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all every success at this 10th anniversary edition of Eco Expo Asia. It's a milestone in the fair's progress. It's also a marker of environment's rise as an industry of significance and an issue of consequence - for each and every one of us.

     Ladies and gentlemen, I know some of you might be aware of the fact that I have recently, just couple of days ago, joined the Facebook community. And if my photographer colleague can give me the photographs quick enough, I will upload some of the photographs I have taken out there and do some promotion for you.
     Thank you very much.

Ends/Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 13:09