Hong Kong Financial Secretary Henry Tang said at the opening session of the Penta Forum Monday that to sustain Hong Kong's economic growth, "we must continue to harness our strengths and capture new growth opportunities."
He said among these opportunities is of course the Chinese mainland-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement CEPA), adding the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has been in close liaison with the Chinese mainland to ensure a smooth, timely and effective implementation of CEPA.
He said both sides are determined to resolve any difficulties and bottlenecks expeditiously to allow Hong Kong's businesses or service industries to reap the most benefits.
Tang said on the part of the government, "I can assure you that we will continue to make our best efforts to help our businesses participate in, and contribute to the dynamic growth of our country."
He said he is to lead a high-level delegation of professional services representatives to Beijing next week, adding "We have lined up meetings with the relevant ministries for these representatives to discuss qualification recognition and entry thresholds issues. We hope that certain progress on this front could be made to enable our professional services to gain a larger market share in the Chinese mainland."
On Hong Kong's economic situation, Tang said, Hong Kong is certainly starting 2004 on a strong note, with major economic indicators, local and global alike, turning for the better.
He said even though recently Hong Kong's neighboring regions have been plagued by avian flu, Hong Kong people and HK's financial market have reacted rationally with no panic.
"I am confident that our economy will not be significantly affected. We are so far rather lucky that we have not been hit by any yet, but even if we were to be hit by a case, an isolated case or two, I believe our people have had enough experience and SARS last year has built up our tenacity and resilience toward these incidents," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2004)