Hong Kong's Financial Secretary Henry Tang noted Friday that Hong Kong is seeing the beginning of its economic recovery, as Hong Kong has put the worst of its economic downturn behind.
"The worst of Hong Kong's economic downturn is over and we are now seeing the beginning of a recovery," Tang said.
Addressing a luncheon hosted by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Tang said the latest indicators point to a recovery and a steady pick-up in a number of business sectors.
He elaborated that recovery is particularly noticeable in inbound tourism and related sectors such as airlines, retail, catering and business services.
He pointed out that positive signs have been seen in the economic performance of the Chinese mainland, the United States, Europe and Japan. "Given the external nature of our economy, all of these will help Hong Kong's recovery," he said.
"Next week, we will announce our GDP figures for the second quarter as well as the revised forecast of GDP growth for 2003. I am cautiously optimistic that we have indeed turned that corner," Tang said, adding it is not realistic to expect to achieve a balanced budget in 2006-07.
"Yet, we must positively address the issue, and show that we have the determination and we have the ability to solve this problem," Tang said, quoting the general sales tax as an example.
Tang noted that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government has no plan of introducing the tax now or in the near future.
Rather, Tang told the 400-people audience that he raised the issue for public discussion and debate for adequate airing of everyone's views as the issue would have major public bearing.
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2003)