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Wide range of initiatives announced at Policy Address

Hong Kong Chief Executive C. Y. Leung holds a press conference after delivering the 2016 Policy Address at the Legislative Council.

Hong Kong Chief Executive C. Y. Leung announced a range of initiatives in the 2016 Policy Address to develop Hong Kong’s economy, support innovation and technology, and improve health care and people’s livelihood.

The initiatives are designed to expand Hong Kong’s role as a “super-connector,” attract foreign business and investment, and also help mainland China enterprises “go global.”

The innovation and technology sector will receive a boost with about US$640 million in funding for a variety of initiatives. These initiatives include setting up a US$257 million IT Venture Fund to encourage more private capital funds, on a matching basis, to invest in local start-ups, and the establishment of a US$64 million IT Fund for Better Living to finance projects that apply innovation and technology to improve people’s lives.

Mr. Leung said the recently established Innovation and Technology Bureau would support, coordinate and complement Hong Kong’s innovation and technology development, setting up a robust system of scientific research, development and production.

He added that the advantages Hong Kong enjoys under "One Country, Two Systems” have attracted top research and development institutions from around the world, including the Karolinska Institute of Sweden and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Economy

On developing the economy, Mr. Leung said Hong Kong would make the most of its advantages under “One Country, Two Systems” to pursue opportunities with the Mainland, including China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.”

Mr. Leung said the Hong Kong government would promote the development of financial services, transportation services and logistics industry, trade and professional services, as well as tourism to move up the value chain.

He said Hong Kong would consolidate and expand its role as an international financial center, including infrastructure financing and risk management, and deepen renminbi-related financial services and products.

Other priority areas are arbitration and dispute resolution, insurance and re-insurance, corporate treasury functions, and education and cultural exchanges.

Free trade agreements

Mr. Leung said Hong Kong would continue to pursue free-trade agreements, investment promotion and protection agreements, avoidance of double-taxation agreements and air services agreements with major trading partners and economies along the Belt and Road.

In addition, he said Hong Kong would step up its engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The negotiations with the 10 member states of ASEAN on a free-trade agreement are expected to be concluded this year.

Housing and other initiatives

Mr. Leung said the government would continue to boost supply and would not relax demand-side management measures or reduce land supply.

Mr. Leung said the government would also press ahead with long-term plans to build up a land reserve for the next generation.

In health care, the government has proposed a US$1.3 billion endowment to enhance clinical public-private partnership programs and develop new clinical public-private partnership initiatives.

Mr. Leung also announced other initiatives, including those to alleviate poverty and support elder care and the disadvantaged.

 


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