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HK Official: Changing Mind Necessary to Promote Integration

Hong Kong people must change their mind to take advantage of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) to enhance Hong Kong's integration with the Pearl River Delta, Financial Secretary Henry Tang said Friday.


Speaking at the Second Pearl River Delta Conference held here, Tang said Hong Kong people must recognize that the boundary with the mainland ensures the integrity of "one country, two systems," but Hong Kong does not stop at that boundary.


"The bridge that we will be building, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, is going to bring us closer to our brothers just on the other side of the Pearl River estuary," he said.


He noted that Macao's Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) signed Friday with the mainland will open up more opportunities for Hong Kong.


Tang said the Hong Kong government believes in market-driven economies. He said that if the marketers can do it properly themselves, leave it to the market, the government will not intervene in it.


"Our job is to open up markets, lay down the platform. But it is up to the businesses themselves to capture those opportunities," said Tang.


Asked whether he thought the Renminbi (Chinese currency) would go up or down, the financial secretary said he thought it would remain stable.


"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a stable currency to enhance and promote trade, business and the stability of the whole country," said Tang.


(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2003)


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