Mr YUEN Mo (Chairman of the 52nd terms of office) August 2021
The amelioration of housing problems, the refinement of the democratic and legal systems, the creation of development opportunities for the young generation, the promotion of diversified industries, and further integration into the country’s development framework should be addressed by means of policy support in the upcoming Policy Address.
In his speech at the symposium marking the first anniversary of enacting the Hong Kong National Security Law, Xia Baolong, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said he wished to see in Hong Kong the amelioration of housing problems, the refinement of the democratic and legal systems, the creation of development opportunities for the young generation, the promotion of diversified industries, and further integration into the country’s development framework. I proposed at a Policy Address consultation session that these areas highlighted by Xia should be addressed by means of policy support in the upcoming Policy Address.
Finance in the south, I&T in the north
In accordance with the country’s direction of development – accelerated formation of the “dual circulation” development paradigm whereby the domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, and intensified development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) – the new Policy Address should seek to sharpen the competitive edge of Hong Kong’s industries. Particularly, capitalizing on the country’s support, the Policy Address should allocate more resources and map out policies to expand Hong Kong’s role as an international financial centre, and to foster the development of innovation and technology (I&T) with the ultimate goal of establishing Hong Kong as a global I&T hub. We expect to see a new development pattern in line with the development of the Greater Bay Area take shape, one where the south (Central) is strong in finance and the north (New Territories North) is strong in I&T.
Specifically, the HKSAR government should actively transform Hong Kong into an international green financial centre with carbon markets at the core, and work complementarily with the Mainland to promote the development of a regional carbon trading platform. In addition, the range of offshore Renminbi investment and risk management products should be enriched, the market for RMB securities and derivative products expanded. The Hong Kong authorities should also lobby for the opening up of cross-border digital currency payment platforms to Hong Kong-based financial institutions, which will empower Hong Kong to promote the internationalization of digital RMB.
As for I&T, it is important that the HKSAR government draw up a blueprint for Hong Kong’s long-term technological development. New Territories North, in which the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park within the Lok Ma Chau Loop is located, should be developed into an I&T corridor, where large international enterprises can collaborate directly with Hong Kong’s higher educational institutions. The authorities of Hong Kong and the Mainland can also liaise on easing customs clearance restrictions to allow tech personnel from both sides to travel in and out of the Lok Ma Chau Loop more easily. Moreover, greater policy and funding support will be needed for technological results conversion in the Greater Bay Area to link up midstream and downstream research and create an industry-academia research chain.
Creating a harmonious and stable social environment
Lack of affordable housing and restricted social mobility for young people are among the deep-rooted problems plaguing Hong Kong. To meet housing needs, we hope the authorities will break away from old constraints and approach the issue of housing from different angles, such as by reviewing land uses in the New Territories, streamlining land use rezoning procedures, and increasing the supply and types of subsidized housing significantly.
The Policy Address should also outline ways to promote youth development and education in an all-round manner. For example, more support can be given to the business sector to offer internships for youths from the grassroots and help young people in general to develop their careers in the Mainland. The authorities should also make national education a compulsory subject so as to strengthen young people’s national identity and sense of belonging to the motherland.
At present, if the authorities want to effectively implement any policies conducive to Hong Kong’s mid- to long-term development, it is necessary to keep the epidemic under control and reopen the Hong Kong-Mainland border to enable the resumption of commercial activities and personnel movement. To this end, we hope the HKSAR government will launch a wider range of measures to facilitate vaccination and boost the vaccination rate. The business sector, meanwhile, will roll out complementary measures that will help enhance the safety barrier for the community and steer Hong Kong toward economic recovery.