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Hong Kong Economy to Rebound in 2003: Interview
James E. Thompson, chairman of American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong, said Wednesdayhe expects Hong Kong's economy to rebound in 2003.

Thompson said in an interview with Xinhua that Hong Kong economy will perform better with a GDP growth of at least 4 percent in 2003.

Thompson, who set up his own logistics company Crown Worldwide Group's global headquarters in Hong Kong in 1970s and was re-elected as AmCham's chairman for 2003 in January, said he based the optimism on the facts that Hong Kong's GDP growth in the last half year of 2002 showed signs of recovery and the US economy also performed better in 2002.

He also cited CLSA Emerging Market's prediction last week that the real GDP growth in Hong Kong is to be at 4.6 percent in 2003 and 8.2 percent in 2004, spurred by improving domestic demand, confidence and investment along with strong export growth.

Thompson said that seeing from a bigger picture and judging by his experience as a businessman he believed the global economy as a whole also is showing signs of going up, which will certainly benefit Hong Kong.

Talking about the uncertainty caused by a possible war on Iraq, Thompson said the war will not affect Asia too much geographically.

As to concerns about possible rise in oil prices, he said one should note that the oil prices have already been high now and more countries have agreed to produce more oil if the war breaks out.

Thompson also saw the economic integration of Hong Kong and theChinese mainland provide an expanded economic base and many new opportunities for Hong Kong.

"Actually one can see that the integration process has taken a life of its own," he said. "All the partners in the process start to look for better ways to work together for their common interests now."

The American Chamber of Commerce, which represents 2,300 individual members and 1,000 corporate members, also put the Chinese mainland on its top agenda.

Thompson said many US companies in Hong Kong are doing business with the mainland and they would like to know more about the mainland business community and get more information about doing business in China. "So we will work more with the mainland in this year," said the chairman.

(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2003)

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