Transcript of remarks by CE at a media session in Singapore (with photos/video)
Chief Executive: Well, first of all, I have just arrived in Singapore to conduct my first official visit as the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. I'm very delighted to come back to Singapore. As some of you will know, I'm a frequent visitor to Singapore both for business and also for leisure, so it's very great to be back, especially to help our Economic and Trade Office in Singapore to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. And I know next week is Singapore's National Day, so I also send my best wishes to Singaporeans in celebration of their National Day.
Reporter: Mrs Lam, how do you see the new concern group set up by 94 activists and scholars to oppose the government co-location proposal? They have urged the Government to shelve the plan or, like, launch a public consultation on this. How do you see the move? And what do you want to achieve during your stay in Singapore? Is there anything Hong Kong can learn from Singapore?
Chief Executive: Well, my stay in Singapore is relatively short, so I'm leaving tomorrow night. So this trip basically is to renew ties with my counterparts in Singapore and also to thank Singaporean leaders in anticipation of the successful conclusion of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN. It is now very possible that this agreement will be concluded before the end of this year and it will bring mutual benefits to all the businesses and professionals in the 10 ASEAN member nations as well as Hong Kong, especially with our active participation in the nation's Belt and Road Initiative and this Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area.
As far as the co-location arrangement is concerned, my Government will continue to explain to people of Hong Kong, to the concern groups and the academics about the legal basis of doing this co-location arrangement at the West Kowloon terminus of the high-speed rail. I just don't see any alternative to doing this co-location in order to reap the huge economic and social benefits arising from our 26 kilometres of the Hong Kong section of the high-speed rail connecting to this massive high-speed train network in the Mainland. So we will continue to explain and to address any concerns that some quarters may have about the co-location arrangement.
Reporter: You've said that Hong Kong needs stronger leadership in the financial sector. How do you plan to achieve that?
Chief Executive: During my election campaign, I did confess that, in a highly globalised and competitive business environment, if we want to stay competitive we have really to be more proactive. So in this term of Government I have advocated that the Government will adopt some new roles, so in addition to just being a provider of public services and a regulator, I want my Government to be also a facilitator and promotor, and that would require a lot more work in conducting government-to-government relationships, just like my visit, just like concluding FTAs with respective economies and so on. And I also advocated that we could adopt a more proactive fiscal policy in investing more liberally in education, in infrastructure, in overseas promotions, and to provide tax incentives for some of the things we want to happen, like more investment in research and development by the corporations, so we need to provide these businesses with a bit more incentive to do that sort of thing.
Reporter: …you met with Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiaodong upon your arrival. What are some topics of discussion that you have discussed with him?
Chief Executive: That's more a courtesy call, because whenever we go out as officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, we normally call on the Ambassador or the Consul-General in that particular country to thank them for the huge support they have given us, both in terms of supporting the work of the Economic and Trade Office and also in consular protection, because, you may know that under the Basic Law we have a high degree of autonomy but when it comes to foreign relations, they are matters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So whenever Hong Kong people, when they go out, they have some problems and accidents, then we often need huge support from the embassy, from the Chinese embassy. So it is only right for me to come and thank Ambassador Chen Xiaodong for the extensive support he has given our Hong Kong visitors and also to my Economic and Trade Office in Singapore.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:42
Issued at HKT 21:42