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HKSAR Government Takes Stages to Revive Economy in Wake of SARS
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is set to revive Hong Kong's economy in three stages as atypical pneumonia continues to subside here, said Financial Secretary Antony Leung on Monday.

Speaking at a special financial affairs panel meeting at the Legislative Council here to discuss measures to revive Hong Kong's economy, Leung said the three stages will include dealing with the relenting medical crisis brought about by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), rebuilding confidence of citizens, tourists and businessmen in Hong Kong and the ultimate revival of the economy.

Leung also invited the public and business community to express their views in the coming two weeks on the ways and means of reviving the economy, stressing that while the government can provide the funding and the superstructure to this end, public support is essential if any result is to be achieved.

He said the government has already set up a high-level committee to coordinate efforts of various government policy bureaus, while another strategic committee has been set up under Invest Hong Kong, a quasi-public body here to promote investment, to coordinate efforts of both the policy bureaus and the private sector, including the various chambers of commerce in Hong Kong.

In particular, the Economic Development and Labor Bureau will be responsible for promoting local consumer spending and tourism; Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau for stimulating the export sector and the convention and exhibition business; Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau for liaisoning with financial institutions and the Home Affairs Bureau for local cultural activities and sports events.

Leung stressed that although the number of SARS cases has been falling substantially to the single digit on a daily basis, the government will continue to fight the SARS battle and has earmarked one billion Hong Kong dollars (US$128 million) for holding large-scale activities to promote Hong Kong in various ways.

Meanwhile, speaking on the same occasion, Yvonne Choi, director of information services of the government, said the government will continue to be sensible and transparent in dealing with crisis and its efforts and achievements have already been well-recognized by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control of the United States.

She stressed that Hong Kong will continue to be one of the safest places to travel to and live.

(Xinhua New Agency May 12, 2003)

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