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More than 2,000 finance leaders from more than 40 countries and territories, and across the spectrums of politics, business and academia, are participating in the Asian Financial Forum.
Since its 2007 launch, the forum has evolved into a premier financial event in Asia, with this year's gathering offering a valuable platform for financial luminaries to discuss international financial trends and Asia's role in fostering long-term economic advancement for all.
Addressing the forum’s opening session this morning, Chief Executive CY Leung said in three days' time he will launch the Financial Services Development Council to boost Hong Kong's position as an international financial centre and promote the development of its financial services industry, making the best use of the many opportunities provided by the Mainland.
"The council will focus on realising the many local and overseas development opportunities. It will provide a common platform for informed discussion on policy and for public-private collaboration. It will be an ambassador for the industry locally and overseas, and at the same time a capacity builder.
"My Government will adopt a proactive approach to fostering a new working relationship among enterprises, the market and the Government. This will help ensure Hong Kong can enjoy the full benefits from closer regional integration in a free and open business environment.
"My Government will also do everything it can to unlock the vast opportunities in the Mainland, not just for local businesses but also for businesses from outside of Hong Kong."
Mr. Leung said there is a notable swing to the East of financial opportunities and talent, with investors eager to be part of Asia's economic growth story. Referring not just to the rapid development of the Mainland,but also to emerging economies, especially in Southeast Asia.
"Asia is no longer simply a 'factory of the world'; it is a facilitator of inclusive growth and prosperity on the back of rising consumption and wealth creation. I am confident Hong Kong will continue to play an important role in the Asian Century.
"My Government is fully committed to maintaining a vibrant and conducive environment for doing business here in the heart of East Asia."
Mr. Leung said Hong Kong will invest heavily in fostering human capital and infrastructure development to raise its competitiveness and promote high value-added and knowledge-based activities.
Hong Kong will also continue to uphold its strong market institutions and sound regulatory frameworks which have become a cornerstone of its prosperity. Hong Kong is expanding its economic links with new and emerging markets in Asia and across the Asia-Pacific region.
At a cocktail reception this evening, Financial Secretary John Tsang spoke on the positive signs that showed the world was headed in the right direction, which included the upward revisions of the Mainland's economic growth forecast and East Asia's GDP growth forecast by the World Bank, progress seen in the establishment of a banking union and financial integration in Europe, as well as the upgrading of Greece's debt rating.
Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Prof KC Chan chaired the first plenary session and discussed policies that contended with the effects of the European sovereign debt crisis, worldwide quantitative easing, and other turbulence in the global economy, as well as China's role at this challenging time.
The forum, co-organised by the Hong Kong Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, comprises plenary sessions, panel discussions, a breakfast panel, keynote luncheons, workshops and a matchmaking session.
It will continue tomorrow with a breakfast panel, workshops on various topics including the international use of the renminbi, and a luncheon on the role of the International Monetary Fund in maintaining global financial stability.