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Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 00:12

Beijing official praises HK’s performance

By Shadow Li

HONG KONG - Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, spoke approvingly of Hong Kong’s performance in financial and fiscal areas, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said in Beijing on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing on the second day of his three-day regular duty visit, Tsang said Wang praised the SAR government’s efforts in keeping its fiscal situation under control.

Wang Guangya speaks approvingly of Hong Kong’s performance in financial and fiscal areas

Tsang said he had thanked the central government for its support with Hong Kong’s development during his meeting with Wang on Monday.

Tsang arrived in Beijing on Sunday and will fly back to Hong Kong today (Wednesday) afternoon after visiting the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Commerce.

Responding to recent doubts cast on Hong Kong’s rate of economic growth being slower than that of Singapore, Tsang said Hong Kong faces two challenges, namely a shortage of land supply and an aging workforce.

He said Singapore has overcome such constraints as it has invested a lot in the past decade in land reclamation and importing labor. Singapore has reclaimed land covering a total area probably larger than its original size. In the meantime, there are 1.4 million imported laborers working in Singapore, accounting for half of its workforce.

But Tsang said a lot of international organizations recognize Hong Kong’s competitiveness in terms of its economy, institutions and policies.

During his visit, Tsang also met Ou Xiaoli, inspector of the western region development department of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The SAR, as the international financial center of China and the global offshore renminbi business center, has a well-developed capital market. It also has a robust regulatory framework and could serve as the investment and finance hub for infrastructure projects along the Belt and Road regions, Tsang said.

He added the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, newly established under the Monetary Authority of Hong Kong (HKMA), could provide a platform for information exchange for key stakeholders. This could facilitate infrastructure development in the region.

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Ceajer Chan Ka-keung and HKMA Chief Executive Norman Chan Tak-lam also joined the visit in Beijing.

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