Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Washington DC
Hong Kong

Remarks of Clement Leung
Hong Kong Commissioner for Economic and Trade Affairs, USA

Chinese New Year Reception
Washington, D.C.
February 7, 2017

Good evening everyone,

Thank you for joining the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office to celebrate Chinese New Year. Today is the sixth day of Chinese New Year. First of all Happy New Year, Kung Hey Fat Choi and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Before I talk about Hong Kong, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team in Washington for their hard work.

For Hong Kong, 2016 was a tough year and our GDP is expected to grow at around 1.5%. Our external trade was flat and tourism was down. The macro trade and economic environment is becoming more unpredictable, with the rise of populist and protectionist sentiment around the world, the recoveries of advanced economies being fragile, and central banks heading towards opposing directions, with US interest rate undergoing normalization while others are still easing.

Even though we expect the international business environment to be turbulent in 2017, Hong Kong is still a prime beneficiary of the growth and development in Mainland China.

We have achieved a state of full employment, with a jobless rate of just
3.3%.

Our stock exchange was again the number one IPO market last year, raising some 25 billion dollars. We are by far the world’s largest centre for off-shore RMB business. We have included Shenzhen in the Stock Connect platform and investors can invest in stocks listed in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen under the program. The three stock markets have a total market cap of 11 trillion dollars, the second largest in the world.

We are pushing ahead with the construction of the third airport runway to double our capacity for air cargo and to increase throughput to 100 million passengers a year.

The 18 mile bridge to Macau and western Guangdong will be completed at the end of this year. And the express rail link that connects with the national high speed railway network will come into operation next year.

We are expanding our metro network so that by 2020, 70% of our population will be living within 1 km of a metro station – that is less than two- thirds of a mile.

Our new flagship contemporary art museum M+ will open in 2019 at the new harbor front cultural district and agreement has been reached with the Palace Museum of Beijing to display its collection of national treasures at another new museum at the same location.

We are setting an ambitious target to form land to build half a million housing apartments in the next 10 years.

We are riding on the Belt and Road Initiative of China to expand our markets, particularly in infrastructure financing and professional services. We are making plans to expand our network of Economic and Trade Offices to India, UAE, South Africa, Russia and Mexico.

We are driving the growth in entrepreneurship, creative industries and innovation and technology. We will collaborate with Shenzhen to develop a 200 acre innovation and technology park near the border.

The state of Hong Kong’s bilateral relationship with the United States is strong. We bought over 37 billion dollars of goods made in America a year, making Hong Kong your number 9 export market.

Today’s reception also kicks off a series of events organized by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office this year to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of China. This is a time for celebration, for reflection and for looking forward. Despite the ups and downs of our path in the past two decades, the people of Hong Kong are determined to make the concept of “One Country, Two Systems” a success. And of course, we could not have gone this far without the support, goodwill and cooperation of our friends in the United States.

This is the Year of the Rooster. Sometimes people translated it as the Year of the Chicken. It doesn’t matter which way you call it, because they all end up at

the dinner table. The animal symbolizes discipline and hard work, and it gets ready for tomorrow’s challenges while others are being too complacent and comfortable. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

 



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