Following is the transcript (English portion) of the remarks delivered by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, at the spring dinner of the Dongguan City Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment held in Dongguan, Guangdong Province on March 11:
I know that there are some members of the Consular Corps and foreign representatives among us today, so my first message is to our overseas friends -- that developments in the Mainland of China are extremely important to Hong Kong.
For 30 years, Hong Kong has prospered through our investments in the Mainland. In the last year and a half, we have surmounted another major challenge. Since the Autumn of 2008, China and Hong Kong have weathered together the international financial tsunami extremely well. Among all the important economies in the world, China gained in economic growth significantly in 2009. I still remember that in June last year, when we represented Hong Kong to attend the Pan-Pearl River Delta Conference among nine provinces and the Macao and Hong Kong Special Administrative Regions in Guangxi Province, the governors of the nine provinces told us that they were extremely confident that the Chinese economy would be able to maintain more than eight per cent growth for 2009. My immediate response then was that it was extremely good news to Hong Kong, because that would mean that our enterprises in the Mainland of China would continue to prosper, have a healthy rate of return, and therefore generate more wealth for Hong Kong. This has come to pass in the course of the last 12 months, and I believe that the prospects now for 2010 will be even better.
The leadership of Dongguan just told me that whilst the exports in 2009 for the fourth part of the year dropped, exports for the first two months of 2010 have already regained to 2008 levels. So that is good news for Hong Kong investors and for other investors in Dongguang.
(Note: Please also refer to the Chinese portion)
ENDS/Thursday, March 11, 2010