Transcript of remarks by Acting CE at media session before ExCo meeting (with video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Acting Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting this morning (February 2):

Acting Chief Executive: I just want to say a few words in English. Earlier this morning the Heritage Foundation has released 2016 Index of Economic Freedom Report. We are very pleased that Hong Kong is again ranked the freest economy by the Heritage Foundation for the 22nd consecutive year. The determination of the HKSAR Government to safeguard economic freedom in Hong Kong is beyond doubt, for free market principles are the cornerstones of our sustained economic development and prosperity.

     Amongst the 10 components measured in the Report, Hong Kong achieved high score of 90 or above in seven components, with the top positions in three of these components and they are Business Freedom, Trade Freedom and Financial Freedom. The HKSAR Government will continue to uphold free market principles by providing a favourable business environment, ensuring fair competition and free trade, maintaining a simple tax regime with low tax rates, and keeping an efficient public sector. But of course, as other economies continue to move forward, we must continuously make improvement in various aspects, in order to preserve Hong Kong's leading position in economic freedom.

Reporter: Did the Chief Executive CY Leung issue an order to ban the senior government officials from attending the anniversary dinner of the Democratic Party? Do you think it will help like improve the already very bad relationship between the executive and the legislature? And would you personally attend the dinner?

Acting Chief Executive: I have already replied to the Democratic Party office that I would not be able to attend their anniversary reception party. As you know, as a principal official, we receive a lot of invitations to attend a lot of functions, so I have to look at my own commitments and decide which particular function I would attend.

Reporter: But did you receive an order from the Chief Executive to not to attend the anniversary dinner?

Acting Chief Executive: I think the Chief Executive has made it very clear before he departed Hong Kong last night. Actually, he welcomed an invitation to attend, but apparently he is still waiting for an invitation from the Democratic Party.

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

Ends/Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:34