Chief Executive delivers 2010-11 Policy Address

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang hosts a news conference after delivering his Policy Address to the Legislative Council on October 13.

Delivering his 2010-11 Policy Address to the Legislative Council on October 13, Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang laid out his strategies to stabilize the property market, support low-income families, improve the environment and strengthen financial cooperation with mainland China.

Mr. Tsang reported that Hong Kong’s economy has “progressively stepped out of the shadow of the global financial crisis” and is on track to achieve gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5% to 6% in 2010. He warned, however, of the possible downsides in the global economy and increasing risks of asset-price bubbles in Asia.

In his Policy Address, Mr. Tsang singled out Hong Kong’s volatile property market as the city’s most immediate and pressing challenge, and announced new measures to boost the supply of apartments and to help potential buyers enter the housing market.

The Chief Executive announced short-, medium- and long-term housing strategies, including establishing a land reserve, introducing an enhanced program of subsidized housing and temporarily removing real estate investment from the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme.

“Our aim is to build up a sufficiently large land reserve over a period of time to ensure stable land supply for the residential property market,” he said.

Mr. Tsang also unveiled a series of measures to boost elderly welfare and provide more resources for residential care homes and nursing homes.

On the environment, Mr. Tsang proposed optimizing the fuel mix for generating power, significantly reducing the city’s reliance on fossil fuels, phasing out coal-fired generation units and increasing the use of non-fossil, cleaner and low-carbon fuels, including renewable energy and imported nuclear energy.

“We propose by 2020 natural gas should account for 40% of our fuel mix for power generation, coal no more than 10%, renewable energy about 3% to 4%, and the balance of about 50% by imported nuclear energy,” Mr. Tsang said.

He said the government expects the carbon intensity in Hong Kong to be reduced 50% to 60% by 2020 from 2005 levels; greenhouse gas emissions should decrease 19% to 33%. Emissions per capita are expected to drop from 6.2 tonnes to 3.6 to 4.5 tonnes, far lower than levels in the United States, the European Union and Japan.

In addition, Mr. Tsang announced measures to reduce emissions from franchised buses. This includes government funding to retrofit Euro II and Euro III buses to meet Euro IV emission standards and financial support for franchised bus companies wishing to test such green transport options as hybrid buses.

The 2010-11 Policy Address outlines strategies to stabilize the property market, support low-income families, improve the environment and strengthen cooperation with Mainland China.

He said pilot low-emission zones will be set up in busy districts; additional green provisions will be included when the bus franchises come up for renewal. “The ultimate policy objective of the government is to have zero-emission buses running across the territory,” Mr. Tsang said.

On the economic front, Mr. Tsang said Hong Kong will continue to strengthen financial cooperation with the Mainland to ensure a sound foundation for the city’s sustainable economic growth.

He said Hong Kong will strive to enhance its status as an international center for financial services, trade, shipping and logistics, and to develop the six industries in which Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages. The six industries are medical services, education services, environmental industries, testing and certification services, innovation and technology and cultural and creative industries.

On constitutional development, Mr. Tsang remarked that passage this year of draft amendments to the methods for selecting the Chief Executive and for forming the Legislative Council in 2012 was a critical step forward.

He said the government will encourage the Legislative Council this month to pass the bills to allow political parties and prospective candidates to make early preparations.

Mr. Tsang stressed the importance of nurturing political talent and for all sectors of the community to work toward the common goal of achieving universal suffrage.

Details of the 2010-11 Policy Address can be found on the following website: [www.policyaddress.gov.hk/10-11/index.html].

 

 


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ã 2010, Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York