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Forum on the National 12th Five-Year Plan

     The Forum on the National 12th Five-Year Plan organised by the HKSAR Government was held in Hong Kong this morning (April 18). The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, delivered the opening remarks. Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, Mr Peng Qinghua, and Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the HKSAR, Mr Lu Xinhua, graced the occasion with their presence. The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang; Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Mr Peng Sen; and Vice Governor of the Guangdong People's Government, Ms Zhao Yufang, made key-note speeches for the Forum, while the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, delivered the concluding remarks.

     "The Forum, attended by more than 700 guests from different sectors of the community, was a resounding success, and this has helped enhance the community's understanding of the National 12th Five-Year Plan (the Plan) and the HKSAR's complementing work," the Government spokesman said.

     Mr Donald Tsang emphasised that "the Plan devotes historically a dedicated chapter on Hong Kong and Macao. The chapter highlights the important functions and positioning of the HKSAR and signifies the Central Authorities' strenuous support for maintaining the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. This serves to open up new room for Hong Kong's further development and contribute to the overall national development. It is in essence a milestone benefiting the nation, the HKSAR and the people." He also pointed out that the Plan served as a nexus connecting the motherland and Hong Kong, and an anchor point in Hong Kong's search for breakthroughs and new developments; and that it had significant implications in promoting Hong Kong's co-operation with the international community, the Mainland, and other regional areas.

     On behalf of the HKSAR, Mr Tsang extended heart-felt thanks to the Central Authorities, the National Development and Reform Commission and other Central Government ministries, the offices set up by the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, the Guangdong Provincial People's Government, and all personalities and organisations who had all along rendered their support in advancing HKSAR's complementing work.
     "The key word of this Chapter is 'support'. The Central People's Government will positively respond to and support initiatives that are in the interest of Hong Kong's socio-economic development. Yet it will be for us in Hong Kong to formulate and implement our own plan," Mr Tang said.

     Mr Tang then discussed the substance of this Chapter from three perspectives: consolidation and enhancement, emerging industries and regional co-operation.

     Mr Tang said consolidation and enhancement were meant to raise the competitiveness of Hong Kong's high value-added service industries such as finance, trade and shipping. He noted Hong Kong's unique role in assisting the Mainland's reform efforts in the financial services sector and ensuring its financial security. He was encouraged by the Plan's pledge to support Hong Kong's development as an offshore Renminbi business centre and international asset management centre, as well as enhancing its global influence.

     The Plan also seeks to promote the services sector in the Mainland. Mr Tang said that Hong Kong's service industries, with its world-class standard and experience in the Mainland market, were well-positioned to capitalise on the unprecedented opportunities offered by the booming services sector in the Mainland. He saw the continuous upgrading of Hong Kong's industries to maintain competitiveness as the key to success.

     Mr Tang said that with the increasing emphasis on domestic consumption and urbanisation in the Mainland, Hong Kong's export-oriented manufacturing industries would benefit by focusing both on the Mainland and the international markets.

     On nurturing Hong Kong's emerging industries, Mr Tang said there was a need to monitor closely the development of the six new industries. While upholding market principles, he believed there was scope for the Government to play a more active role in meeting the needs of the industries through effective policy implementation.

     Mr Tang noted that co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong would be the most important aspect of enhancing economic co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Through the conscientious implementation of the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation, the Pearl River Delta region will become a highly competitive world-class metropolitan cluster. Mr Tang said the Government would push ahead various pilot schemes that facilitate access of Hong Kong services providers to Guangdong and then seek to extend their coverage to developed coastal cities and the Pan-Pearl River Delta region.

     The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam highlighted the following three points at his concluding remarks:

1. HKSAR's complementing work by no means suggests that Hong Kong will depart from the free market economy. The essence is to strive for the policy support of the Central Authorities with a view to promoting Hong Kong's economic development and advancing co-operation with the Mainland on a mutually beneficial basis;

2. Since reunification, the community has reached consensus regarding the direction of fostering closer co-operation with the Mainland. With cross-partisan general support, the Legislative Council had passed motions respectively in early 2010 and March 2011 to request the Government to step up further efforts in pushing ahead the complementing work; and

3. In the past decades, in the light of the past experience, the HKSAR Government made some headways in promoting co-operation with the Mainland at both the macro level featuring the Plan and CEPA, and the micro level such as the various initiatives under Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation and Qianhai Development and the like.

     "The successful staging of the Forum reflects clearly the great degree of community interest in the future development of the nation and Hong Kong. The next focus is on how we can make concerted efforts of both the Government and the community in proceeding towards implementation on the basis of the existing foundation. Under the leadership of the steering committee chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, the relevant Bureaux will listen to views expressed by various sectors in formulating concrete implementation initiatives and spare no efforts in spearheading further progress. The relevant work will help lay a solid foundation for the HKSAR's work in complementing the National 13th Five-Year Plan."

     Other speakers of the Forum include Chairman of the Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council, Dr Victor Fung, who chaired the panel discussion session of the Forum, as well as Director of the National Development and Reform Commission, Mr Li Shouxin; Deputy Director of the Guangdong Development and Reform Commission, Mr Yu Yunzhou; Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Mr Fred Lam; and Chairman of The Hong Kong Association of Banks, Mr He Guangbei.

Ends/Monday, April 18, 2011