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Transcript of remarks by FS at media session (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at a media session after attending the Belt & Road Innovation and Development Forum this morning (November 3):
Reporter: Secretary, would you tell me, with Donald Trump finally nominating, confirming market speculation that he's nominated Jerome Powell, do you see any risks for Hong Kong? And my second question is with regards to the World Bank report. Do you see that's a fair assessment of Hong Kong? And a government spokesman has said that the Government is going to speed up the legislation on bankruptcy protection. Do you have a timetable on that? And my third question is that you have a new, you have hired another news journalist, an executive, a news veteran. How do you see she can help you with your job, with your bureau?
Financial Secretary: Well, the proposed appointment of Mr Powell is consistent with what we have heard when we last visited Washington. His appointment would not affect the trend of increasing interest rate in the US and, according to observers, his position is more inclined to the position taken by Dr Yellen. So our assessment is that Mr Powell's appointment will not affect the interest rate increasing trend. And at the same time we have to pay attention to the tax cut proposal by President Trump. We are not sure whether the whole package will get through the Congress, and in the process whether there are adjustments or modifications, but it seems to us that some sort of tax cut would probably be implemented in the US, and coupled with Mr Trump's earlier pledge to increase spending to upgrade their infrastructure, the economy in the US, the outlook is pretty positive and it also has an impact on the interest rates. So looking into the future, the flow of capital from outside of the US going back to the US seems to be quite clear, depending on timing. And under the capped exchange rate system- number one our interest rate will inevitably go up, although the magnitude and the timing, depending on the number of different factors, we still need to remain vigilant. But the change in the flow of international capital may bring risks to our asset price, including both the property sector and the share market, I mean the stock market. So we have to be very careful, and I just want to remind our citizens that please do watch out, look after you own risk management.
     As to your second question about World Bank's report, we are still very competitive. Our ranking is still very high, but there is no room for complacence. They point out the inadequacy in our current insolvency regime. In this respect, ever since I took over the position of Financial Secretary, this is an item quite high on my agenda, and I have asked my colleagues in the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau to accord priority to this piece of legislation, because it is important to Hong Kong. A proper insolvency regime, corporate rescue regime, will be important for the corporate sector.
     As to your final question, I must thank Ms Ho Chui-ping, Apple, for agreeing to join the Government to help me as my Political Assistant. With her experience, expertise and contacts with the media, and with her experience in engaging public opinion, I hope she can help me in better engaging the community in terms of budget preparation and other initiatives and help me in crafting messages to the public.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, November 3, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:14
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FS meets the media