Highlight of the 2014 Policy Address

The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, has today in his 2014 Policy Address unveiled major initiatives to support those in need, nurture the next generation and underpin Hong Kong’s economic future. The policy agenda includes more than 160 new and over 430 on-going initiatives. Directions and initiatives of relevance to HKTDC include:

Promotion of Youth Entrepreneurship

To start with, CE shared a successful story of a young Hong Kong entrepreneur whose company manages a supply chain of imported red wine, coffee and other food items, with an annual turnover of over $100 million in Guangxi, to urge youth to capitalize on the opportunities at home and abroad.

The $500 million Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund, established by CE after taking office, will be open for applications through intermediaries starting from mid-2014. The Fund is set up with an aim to encourage individuals and organisations who care about social development, including young people who wish to start their own business, to help tackle poverty and social problems.

Promotion of Economic Development

More importantly, CE has announced a string of initiatives to promote economic development as a foundation for overcoming challenges in society and unleashing Hong Kong’s full potential.

On Financial Services, the government will examine and follow up on the proposals submitted by Financial Services Development Council in respect of Hong Kong’s opportunities and challenges in Rmb business, asset and wealth management, and real estate investment trusts in collaboration with financial regulators.

On Trade and Regional Cooperation, the government will
• play an active role in the development of the PRD, support the establishment of a free trade zone in Guangdong and work with the province and various municipalities towards mutual success
• set up a liaison unit each in the Northern and Eastern Regions of the mainland, and one in the central region after the Wuhan Economic and Trade Office (ETO) has come into operation in the second quarter
• consider increasing the number of ETOs in Asia
• commence formal negotiations for a Hong Kong-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement

On Professional Services, the government’s focuses are to:
• promote liberalisation of professional services by securing more liberalisation measures and concluding more free trade agreements
• promote alignment of the professional systems of the mainland and Hong Kong
• strengthen competitiveness and enhance brand building of Hong Kong’s professional services
• assist Hong Kong’s professional services sector to explore business opportunities overseas and access emerging markets and key economies
• foster the comprehensive development of cross-sectoral professional services and examine the feasibility of providing resource support and advisory services at strategic footholds all over the world

On Logistics Industry, ten hectares of land have been set aside in Tuen Mun West for logistics use. Land will also be earmarked in new development areas for the construction of modern logistics facilities. The government will continue to improve port facilities and enhance the efficiency of port operations.

On High Value-added Maritime Services, the government has identified Hong Kong’s competitive edge in developing quality and international maritime services, such as ship registration, management and broking, shipping agency, ship finance, maritime insurance, legal and arbitration services. The government will set up a new statutory maritime body.

On Dispute Resolution Services, the government will establish an advisory committee on the development and promotion of arbitration services.

On Creative Industries, the government will review the Film Development Fund to better support the local film industry.

On Intellectual Property, the government’s focuses are to:
• enhance the IP protection regime
• supporting IP creation and exploitation
• foster IP intermediary services and enhance manpower capacity
• pursue efforts in promotion, education and external collaboration

On Innovation and Technology Industries, the Innovation and Technology Commission started a comprehensive review of the Innovation and Technology Fund operation. Besides, the government and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation are reviewing the effectiveness and long-term development direction of the Science Park and industrial estates. Also, the Chief Executive plans to re-initiate the setting up of an Innovation and Technology Bureau.

Development of Lantau

The government will establish a Lantau Development Advisory Committee to prepare the economic and social development strategy for Lantau Island:

• The government will explore the feasibility of developing major shopping, dining, entertainment and hotel facilities at the artificial island (with an area of about 130 hectares) for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities, which will serve as a gateway between Hong Kong and western PRD and take on great value as a « bridgehead economy ».
• The Hong Kong International Airport will reach its full capacity in the next few years. There is an urgent need to construct a third runway. Planning work is being taken forward with a view to commissioning the third runway by 2023.
• The airport’s North Commercial District, a large area of about ten hectares, has tremendous development potential and economic value. The Airport Authority Hong Kong is pressing ahead with the comprehensive and full development of the district.
• The government will explore ways to further develop the eastern waters off Lantau Island and neighbouring areas, with a view to developing an East Lantau Metropolis for accommodating new population. It will become a core business district in addition to Central and Kowloon East for promoting economic development and providing job opportunities.

Details of the 2014 Policy Address are available at: http://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2014/eng/index.html