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SCA:Govt should gear up early for national 11th 5-year plan

The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, said today (March 28) that given the growing ties with the Mainland and profound impact of the National 11th Five-year Plan (the "11th FYP"), particularly on infrastructural planning of Hong Kong, the HKSAR Government should enhance the understanding of the Plan to get fully prepared to cope with the Mainland's development.

Speaking at a civil service seminar on the 11th FYP, Mr Lam said that under the Plan, support would be given to Hong Kong's development on fronts such as financial services, logistics, tourism and information services, and to maintain Hong Kong's status as an international hub on financial services, trade and shipping. "This shows that development of the Mainland and Hong Kong is closely related as well as complementary with each other. On the other hand, the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems' is fully illustrated by the fact that the 11th FYP does not include concrete and detailed planning on the HKSAR."

"The accelerating economic development on the Mainland, coupled with progress in the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), the Pan-Pearl River Delta regional co-operation and the Individual Visit Scheme, have brought about business opportunities to Hong Kong. Nevertheless, development in the various regions has also led to increasingly keen competition in the market. Colleagues of the SAR Government in various fields need to strengthen our understanding of the 11th FYP," Mr Lam said.

"The Constitutional Affairs Bureau (CAB) is working on the setting up of the Mainland Affairs Liaison Office (MALO), to enhance co-ordination on co-operation with the Mainland. The seminar today is in fact the first important task of the MALO," he added.

Also speaking at the seminar as the keynote speaker, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Development Planning, National Development and Reform Commission, Mr Xu Lin, said the 11th FYP fully reflected the fact that, under the Basic Law and the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle, the planning and arrangements of socio-economic development of Hong Kong should be formulated by the HKSAR Government. "The 11th FYP also reflects the Central People's Government's stance and policy to promote the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. By capitalising its advantage and potential, and through enhancing its competitiveness, Hong Kong could certainly thrive for a better future," Mr Xu said.

To enhance the understanding of civil servants on the 11th FYP, the CAB and the Civil Service Training and Development Institute co-organised today's seminar. About 170 civil servants from more than 30 bureaux/departments attended.

Ends/Tuesday, March 28, 2006