In his annual Policy Address, Hong Kong Chief Executive, Donald Tsang told the Legislative Council the Hong Kong people’s resilience will help the city emerge stronger from the current global 'financial tsunami.'
Tsang said that Hong Kong would turn the current crises into opportunities by vigorously pursuing “economic development in areas such as financial services, cross-boundary integration, infrastructure projects, creative industries and scientific research.”
The Hong Kong Chief Executive said he would establish and chair a task force to assess the impact of the financial crisis on Hong Kong's economy, and propose specific options for the Government and business community to address the challenges.
“This will help us overcome the crisis, turn it into new business opportunities and enhance our competitiveness,” he said in his Policy Address.
Tsang said good progress had been made implementing the major infrastructure projects and initiatives outlined in the 2007-2008 Policy Address.
These would increase employment opportunities and economic benefits, which would give fresh impetus to economic growth at a time when the external economic environment was deteriorating, said Tsang. “In times of uncertainties, there is a greater need to keep calm and to accomplish our tasks pragmatically,” he said. “Hong Kong is on the right track with its development. Hong Kong people are known for our resilience in the face of adversity. All these years, we have worked miracles in times of difficulty, making continuous improvements and progress.”
The government will use the current economic crisis as an opportunity to reinforce Hong Kong’s position as a global financial center. This would include enhanced banking supervision, tightened regulation of fund managers, the establishment of an independent Insurance Authority, greater employee say over MPF investments, and increased efforts to broaden the scope of stock exchange listings, siad Tsang.
Hong Kong also needs to broaden its horizons and intensify economic integration with the Pearl River Delta (PRD) if it wants to stand out in the face of severe global competition, Tsang continued.
He said the government needs to take the lead in building a Hong Kong - Shenzhen metropolis as well as strengthening co-operation with Guangdong. The focus would be on promoting co-operation in service industries; actively working with Guangdong to optimize and upgrade industrial infrastructure while assisting Hong Kong enterprises to respond to Mainland policy adjustments; actively facilitating cross-boundary environmental protection to create a green and quality living area in the PRD Region; and strengthening co-ordination and planning of cross-boundary infrastructure projects.
Tsang said that to complement enhanced cross-strait relations, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government would strengthen exchanges and co-operation with Taiwan. The government would encourage local and Taiwanese business leaders to establish a Hong Kong - Taiwan Business Co-operation Committee to foster closer links in areas such as trade, investment and tourism. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) would also establish an office in Taipei.
To promote the development of creative industries, a new Creative Industry Office would be set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to integrate, realign and co-ordinate the work of different departments and work closely with the trades.