For Immediate Release
Stephen Ng, Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC), led a 27-member high-level delegation to Beijing on 4-5 December, where delegates exchanged views during meetings with state leaders and ministries on the latest economic developments of interest to Hong Kong and the Mainland.
You Quan, Secretary-General, Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, and Director-General, the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, told members that the 19th National Congress marks a new chapter for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and that that country will put forward new reforms to develop China into a modern power by 2050. As part of this, China will need to focus on resolving social conflicts arising from unbalanced and inadequate development. A sizable gap still exists between the country’s production capacity and meeting people’s basic living needs. He said that as a free port, Hong Kong can play an active role in helping the Mainland to narrow this gap.
Secretary-General You emphasized that immense opportunities continue to exist for Hong Kong. Given its advantages of robust services sectors and a huge offshore RMB market, Hong Kong enterprises must adapt to the new landscape in the Mainland, and align with new developments to seize the opportunities.
Ng said that Hong Kong companies are proactively understanding and trying to capitalize on the new opportunities presented by the 19th National Congress. Both the Hong Kong SAR Government and businesses strongly support the development of innovation and technology to cater to the future needs of the country.
Zhang Xiaoming, Director, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, explained in detail during a two-hour meeting the key messages and spirit of the 19th National Congress, as well as how China plans to expand its reforms to progress along the path of developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.
He pointed out that over the past five years, the country introduced more than 1,500 reform measures. Currently, China’s GDP stands close to 80 trillion yuan, and the country has set a goal of turning itself into a moderately well-off society in the next three years and lifting everyone in the country out of poverty.
He also stressed that the Central Government supports strengthening cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong, and the latter's participation in the national development blueprint. The Greater Bay Area (GBA) development presents a golden opportunity, and is especially important for the future development of the younger generation in Hong Kong. With its international expertise, mature market, rule of law and efficient professional services, Hong Kong has ample room to contribute to the development of the GBA. As part of this, the Central Government has been rolling out measures to enable Hong Kong people to study, work and live in the Mainland.
Gao Yan, Deputy Ministry of Commerce, said that the Belt and Road initiative is bearing fruit. In the first three quarters of 2017, Mainland enterprises invested US$ 9.6 billion in 64 countries along the Belt and Road, up 4% year on year, and she expects this growth trend to continue steadily.
She pointed out that a total of 75 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones have been set up in 44 countries and regions along the Belt and Road. Some 3,400 Chinese companies set up operations in the zones, creating 240,000 jobs. She stressed that the Ministry of Commerce will give full support to Hong Kong’s participation in projects in these overseas cooperation zones.
Zou Yong, Counsel of the Department of Regional Economy, the National Development and Reform Commission, said a plan for the GBA initiative has been drafted and is about to be submitted to the State Council. He said hopefully it will be approved by the end of December, and implementation details will be rolled out in early 2018.
He highlighted the significance of the GBA initiative, which will support Hong Kong and Macao in furthering each city’s own development plans into the country’s overall development. Zou added that the initiative would also enhance the competitiveness of the Pearl River Delta region as a whole, and elevate the PRD into a world-class regional economy.
As the GBA initiative will focus on innovation, coordination, green development, opening up and sharing, experts from various sectors may be invited to discuss planning and implementation details, which will also look at tackling geographical, cultural and institutional differences.
Chamber Deputy Chairman Aron Harilela said the GBA development needs Hong Kong to help fulfill its potential, and at the same time Hong Kong needs the GBA to expand its economic growth. He hopes that the tax differences can be resolved, and the free flow of talent and capital can be realized as soon as possible.
Ng called the trip insightful and fruitful, and said that he is full of confidence about the country’s future development. He added that Hong Kong businesses need to be more proactive in updating themselves on the latest developments and innovations taking place in the Mainland to build greater synergies and closer cooperation.
About the delegation
The 27-member delegation was led by Tan Tieniu, Deputy Minister of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR as honorary consultant, Guo Hengbin, Deputy Director-General of the Coordination Department, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, and Gracie Foo, Director of the Office of the Government of HKSAR of the People's Republic of China in Beijing, as consultants, and Chamber Deputy Chairman Aron Harilela, Vice Chairman Leland Sun and LegCo Representative Jeffrey Lam as deputy leaders. Other delegates included members of the Chamber General Committee, and chairmen and vice-chairmen from various committees and the Chairman of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hong Kong.
During the two-day mission, members met with:
You Quan, Secretary-General, Secretariat of the Communist Party of China; Director-General, the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee
Zhang Xiaoming, Director, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council
Dai Junliang, Deputy Director of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee
Qiu Yuanping, Director, Oversea Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council
Gao Yan, Deputy Minister of Commerce
Zou Yong, Counsel, Department of Regional Economy, the National Development and Reform Commission
Members pose for a group photo with You Quan (front row, centre), Secretary-General, Secretariat of the Communist Party of China; Director-General, the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee.
Members meet with Zou Yong, Counsel, Department of Regional Economy, the National Development and Reform Commission.
Gao Yan, Deputy Ministry of Commerce, said that the Belt and Road Initiative is bearing fruit.
Members meet with Qiu Yuanping, Director, Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council.
Zhang Xiaoming, Director, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, meets with Chamber Chairman Stephen Ng and the delegation.
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