With the new Government led by Chief Executive-elect John Lee taking office on 1 July, there is considerable interest in the policy direction of the new administration. Lee has already announced plans for a new Government structure comprising three Department Secretaries and 15 Bureau Directors, with the addition of three Deputy Secretaries to strengthen coordination and governance.
The new Government has a huge responsibility in the coming five years to prioritise three areas: first, to strengthen Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre; second, to enhance our role as an international aviation hub; third, to tell a positive “story of Hong Kong” to people at home and overseas.
Hong Kong has been designated as one of the eight international centres under the National 14th Five-year Plan, with particular support for our status as an international aviation hub.
I propose that the new administration should take the commissioning of the third runway at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) this year as an opportunity to lobby the Central Government to implement a co-location arrangement at the airport, with a view to further promoting interconnectivity with the Mainland’s aviation network. This would also enable complementary development and interaction among airports across the Greater Bay Area (GBA) for better integration into the national development.
If a co-location arrangement is implemented at HKIA, it will have multiple benefits, such as improving convenience for tourists and business travellers, creating synergy between airports in the GBA, and unleashing HKIA’s growth potential as a hub for domestic and regional flights.
On efforts to tell a positive Hong Kong story, Lee proposed in his election manifesto to resume official visits to Mainland provinces and cities in due course, and facilitate cooperation between the Government, people and businesses.
Such cooperation covers a wide range of areas, and the Chamber is eager to support such initiatives, especially in organizing overseas missions to connect with government officials and attract businesses and investment to Hong Kong. Meanwhile, non-government channels can be leveraged to step up promotion of Hong Kong as a safe city and reflect the real picture to the rest of the world.
As the saying goes: “To stand still or move slowly is to fall behind.” I want to reiterate that Hong Kong is not an isolated island. As the free flow of people and trade is fundamental to the flow of capital in and out of the city, this flow must resume if we are to successfully relaunch our economy.
As such, the top priority of the new administration should be to work on the resumption of quarantine-free travel with the Mainland and the normal flow of people from around the world, as soon as possible. It is also imperative to introduce competitive tax incentives, continue to improve our business environment, and cut red tape to reduce unnecessary costs and administrative burdens on businesses, as well as attract more companies and talent to Hong Kong once our borders reopen.