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2018/09/12

Chamber Highlights Policy Priorities for Upcoming Policy Address
Policy Address   

For Immediate Release

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) has thrown its backing behind the Government to put in place measures that enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong. For the HKSAR Chief Executive’s second Policy Address, the Chamber supports Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor priorities and initiatives to help Hong Kong achieve its full potential.

In its submission to the Government yesterday, the Chamber considered the importance of such measures as removing the regulatory bottleneck, optimising the use of existing and finding more land, as well as tackling manpower shortage as priority concerns for the Administration’s policy agenda.

RIA

Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) remains a key priority for the Chamber. “A proper and compulsory RIA should be carried out before any new regulatory interventions are made. This process should weigh the pros and cons of any proposed intervention, and (if intervention is necessary) determine the different tools to achieve the same policy outcome while ensuring that such measures are fair and proportionate. At the same time, a proper RIA should quantify the costs and benefits of each option to the different stakeholders, the economy, and society in general,” said Chamber Chairman Aron Harilela.

Chamber CEO Shirley Yuen added that the Chamber has secured two high-level international experts to come to Hong Kong to speak at a seminar on RIA on 15 November, followed by a workshop the next day. “We hope that this two-day programme will be useful in helping the Hong Kong business community and other interested parties to better understand the RIA process. We are also partnering with the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office and Efficiency Office to promote both events among senior officials,” she said.

The Chamber has also emphasized the need for the implementation of a proper “joined-up” Government using the “one-stop shop” principle to the fullest extent possible. “A strong central coordinating unit, with oversight of all of the actions needed to achieve the Government’s economic vision, should be responsible for promoting and pushing forward reforms to eliminate and avoid unnecessary regulation and red tape. This unit would effectively serve as a project manager to preempt the possibility of each department operating in a silo and ensure consistency in policies across departments, for example, in supporting start-ups. We believe the newly formed Policy, Innovation and Coordination Office is an important step in this process,” said Harilela.

Land and labour shortage

On removing the land bottleneck, Harilela said the Chamber supports as priorities land reclamation, re-developing “brownfield” sites, developing agricultural land and re-zoning industrial sites which are not being used efficiently. The Chamber stands ready to support the

Government in the drafting of an implementation plan, with action points and timeframes, and to do what is possible to expand the availability of land to achieve our shared vision for a prosperous and harmonious Hong Kong.

Chronic labour shortages can also challenge plans to provide more housing and other important infrastructure projects that are critical to the well-being of Hong Kong and its people. The Chamber supports all efforts to prepare our future workforce to adapt to the changing employment landscape brought on by advances in technology. In addition, the Chamber supports all efforts to place greater emphasis on vocational training, and in engaging the support of business enterprises throughout Hong Kong to ensure a sustainable pool of skilled workers.

The Chamber also supports the creation of a special labour importation scheme for the elderly care, healthcare, construction, technology, retail and other industries suffering from acute labour shortages.

Other crucial areas that the Administration should focus on include making Hong Kong a smart city and better utilization of the Greater Bay Area and Belt and Road initiatives. “The Chief Executive’s recent appointment as a member of the leading group for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area chaired by Vice Premier Han Zheng is a welcome and encouraging development,” said Harilela, adding this would enable Hong Kong to have input at the highest level in strategizing for and coordinating of the Bay Area’s development.

The Chamber’s full submission can be downloaded here.


Media inquiries: Please contact Ms Kari Yu at 2823 1266 / kari@chamber.org.hk

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