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Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 14:11

CY Leung delivers last Policy Address

By chinadailyasia.com
CY Leung delivers last Policy Address
(Graphic by Alex Tang/China Daily)

HONG KONG - Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying started delivering his 5th Policy Address shortly after 11 am on Wednesday at the Legislative Council.

In the last Policy Address of Leung’s tenure, he outlined the government’s major achievements, highlighting policies in areas such as economic development, poverty alleviation and housing supply.

In the last Policy Address of Leung’s tenure, he outlined the government’s major achievements

He pointed out that Hong Kong still enjoyed the most free economy status and all-round economic development. The city had been ranked by the Heritage Foundation of the United States as the world’s freest economy for 22 consecutive years, the CE pointed out in his Policy Address Wednesday.

He related how earnings of the least-paid employees in the city had increased by 5.2 percent while the population of the was shrinking. Also, how the working population had increased by 160,000.

"Apart from reinforcing the competitive edges of traditional industries, the government also strives to promote the development of emerging industries," he said.

In his address, the CE emphasized how Hong Kong’s advantages under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and how its role as the “super-connector” had become more apparent in the current global economic landscape and how opportunities brought about by the National 13th Five-Year Plan and the Central government's Belt and Road initiative were abundant.

"Leveraging the National 13th Five-Year Plan and the Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong enjoys endless opportunities, as we excel in 'what the country needs, and what Hong Kong is good at'," he said.

CY Leung delivers last Policy Address
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying presents his last Policy Address blueprint to the media at Central Government Office at Tamar in Admiralty on Jan 18, 2017. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

In his Policy Address, the CE reiterated that Hong Kong was an inalienable part of China, and there was no room for any form of independence or separation.

"There is absolutely no room for independence or any form of separation," he said, "Under 'one country, two systems,' every one of us has the obligation to fully comply with the Basic Law and safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity."

The full text of the Policy Address is available online (http://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2017/).

Leaflets can also be collected in major MTR stations, shopping centers and other selected locations including Time Square in Causeway Bay and Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Belt and Road Initiative

The Hong Kong government will continue to fully support the Belt and Road Initiative (B&R), give full play to Hong Kong’s “super-connector” role and act in concert with national development strategies, to create opportunities for local young people and boost social and economic development in the coming decades, according to the CE.

Following a successful inaugural Belt and Road Summit in May 2016 in Hong Kong, a similar summit will be held in September. To be jointly organized by the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong Trade Development, it will feature B&R related sessions in seminars and expos, the CE said.

Hong Kong is also preparing to participate in a Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in May in Beijing, hosted by the Central government as the highest-level forum since the introduction of the B&R Initiative.

To foster co-operation and exchanges, the Hong Kong government will consider relaxing visa requirements for B&R countries and regions, in order to attract overseas talent to Hong Kong for work, study and visit.

CY Leung delivers last Policy Address
The most frequently used words in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address. (Photo by China Daily)

The Hong Kong government will continue to promote co-operation and exchanges in education to help Hong Kong students gain a better understanding of B&R countries. New initiatives include providing local students with more opportunities to study foreign languages, increasing the quota to 5,600 for local students to go on exchange trips along the ancient Silk Road this year.

Wednesday’s Policy Address also recommends the Belt and Road Office, which was set up in 2016 by the SAR government, be expanded and receive more resources including the creation of directorate posts and other permanent posts to ensure the office can take forward the work effectively and on a long-term basis.

The Belt and Road Office of the SAR government operated under the Commissioner for Belt and Road Yvonne Choi Ying-pik, who Leung appointed in 2016, to provide recommendations and advice on formulating and implementing B&R related strategies, and to liaise with SAR government bureaux and departments as well as various sectors of the society to further tap new opportunities for Hong Kong under the Initiative.

In support of the Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong will embark on aviation training programs for countries and regions, including France.

Innovation & Technology

In 2017, the city’s government will continue to boost innovation and technology development by increasing support for applied scientific research, nurturing start-ups, building a smart city, diversifying the industrial structure and facilitating re-industrialization, the CE said in his Policy Address.

Universities will be encouraged to undertake more research projects that meet Hong Kong’s need to diversify its economy, while a HK$2 billion research program, which encourages universities to conduct more applied research to facilitate downstream research or product development is open for applications.

The year 2016 saw a booming start-ups scene in Hong Kong, with an annual growth of 25 percent. The HK$2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund will start operating by the middle of 2017. The fund was announced by Leung in his 2016 Policy Address.

The government will give full support to the expansion of Science Park, where many of the city’s start-ups and technology companies nestle. The expansion is expected to be completed in three years. Meanwhile, sizable sites have already been reserved for use by the innovation and technology sector.

According to the Policy Address, Kowloon East is chosen as a smart city pilot area, adopting advanced information and communication technologies to manage pedestrian and vehicular traffic flows.

With the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau (ITB) in 2015, the city is committed to advancing innovation and technology development.

Hong Kong is now home to many A-list research and development institutes from home and abroad, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the CE pointed out in his Policy Address.

CY Leung delivers last Policy Address
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announces his last Policy Address on Jan 18, 2017. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

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