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Speech by CS at Annual Dinner of Hong Kong Institute of Architects (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the Annual Dinner of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) this evening (November 18):
Marvin (President of the HKIA, Mr Marvin Chen), fellow members of the HKIA, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to join you today at the Annual Dinner of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the award recipients of the prestigious HKIA Annual Awards, which are presented at the Annual Dinner for the first time.
     The theme of this year's Annual Dinner is "A New Chapter". It echoes well with the vision of this term of Government, which assumed office on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland – a milestone for us to build on our achievements and begin a new chapter of development.
     The theme also resonates with the development of the HKIA after it celebrated its Diamond Jubilee last year. The institute began its story in 1956. Today, the HKIA is a highly esteemed professional institute with more than 3 000 full members and 800 graduate members, student members, retired members, non-resident members, associates and affiliates. These are the fruits of strong determination and tireless efforts made by all the past and present presidents and committee members over the last 60 years.
     Our architecture professionals, with their artistic talents and professional skills, have been the key shapers of our built environment. They are also the creators of some of the most distinguished works in Hong Kong and Asia, including this year's "HKIA Medal of the Year of Hong Kong" – the New Campus Development of Chu Hai College of Higher Education, which signifies a highly linked and connected institution. The Tsing Yi Southwest Leisure Building designed by our Architectural Services Department earned the HKIA Merit Award, while the sludge treatment facility "T PARK" showcasing a remarkable combination of recreational, educational and ecological facilities was presented with the Special Architectural Award. Their functional and aesthetically pleasing designs have clearly proven that Government facilities can be both innovative and practical.
     Having been involved in social welfare policies for over 15 years, I am most impressed by the architectural design of the "Jockey Club Home for Hospice" that won the President's Prize, and the "Precious Blood Children's Village Ancillary Complex" which was awarded Special Jury’s Mention – Presidents Prize this year. The former brings forth a new era of providing a home-like hospice residence with a peaceful garden for patients and their family members, while the latter provides a quality boarding home environment for children in need. There are a number of other community buildings and commercial buildings within and outside Hong Kong that have won this year's Merit Awards. They all demonstrate the determination of our professional architects to pursue architectural excellence and develop Hong Kong into a better place in which to live, work and explore. And no doubt more will be added to the list of HKIA members' signature achievements in the years to come.
     I am proud of your many achievements on the soil of Hong Kong, and am confident that you will find success beyond the boundary of this city. The ambitious Belt and Road Initiative spanning Asia, Europe and Africa could well be another arena for you to apply your enterprising spirit and talents. Infrastructural development will be at the core of the initiative. Hong Kong has a huge role to play and much to offer, particularly in terms of our professional services including architectural servicers, to the over 60 countries along the route.
     Opportunities for Hong Kong arising from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area will be substantial. Encompassing 11 cities, the Bay Area has an overall population of 66 million, which is greater than that of the United Kingdom. And the Bay Area's overall GDP, at HK$10.6 trillion, represents 12 per cent of the GDP of our whole country and is comparable to that of Australia or the Republic of Korea. We will actively participate in the Bay Area development so as to create favourable conditions for diversifying our industries, in particular our professional services sector.
     We are taking proactive steps to strengthen Hong Kong's trade and economic relationships with our partners through negotiations of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). All ASEAN member states are also economies along the Belt and Road. The signing of the Hong Kong-ASEAN FTA last Sunday (November 12) is a significant milestone. ASEAN is our second largest merchandise trading partner and the fourth in services trade. The total value of merchandise trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN exceeded HK$830 billion last year and total services trade was beyond HK$120 billion in 2015. The FTA will open the doors of markets for Hong Kong's competitive service sectors including professional services and provide facilitating arrangements in respect of the entry and stay of Hong Kong enterprises and service providers for business purposes in ASEAN member states.
     Hong Kong's professionals like our architects here this evening are highly regarded not only for their expertise and competence, but also for their professional ethics and global connection.       You are well positioned to be the first movers for new ventures into the Belt and Road, Bay Area and ASEAN developments. I am delighted to learn that Marvin has led delegations to meet relevant Mainland government officials and counterparts for collaborative opportunities arising from the Belt and Road and Bay Area initiatives.
     Ladies and gentlemen, to capitalise on these enormous opportunities, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will conduct more government-to-government dialogues and establish closer ties with the Mainland and overseas countries to create a more favourable environment and more market opportunities for our businesses and professionals. I encourage you to actively tap these great opportunities ahead of us.
     On this note, I congratulate the HKIA for another fruitful year of achievements and look forward to seeing more impressive achievements by HKIA under the excellent leadership of Marvin in the year ahead. And I wish the HKIA every success in the future. Thank you very much.
Ends/Saturday, November 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:09
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