Policy Address Maps Out Vision for Hong Kong

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) welcomes the Chief Executive’s Policy Address today, which provides a broad range of solutions to tackle key challenges, most notably increasing Hong Kong’s housing and land supply.

We also welcome measures for Hong Kong to further integrate with and capitalize on opportunities arising from the development of the Greater Bay Area (GBA).

The ambitious Northern Metropolis plan, covering 300 square kilometres, in addition to other initiatives, provide much-needed residential and industrial land to develop a new area for Hong Kong residents as well as businesses. It is also ideally positioned to facilitate the growth and benefit from the proximity to the other GBA cities. With the planned restructuring of respective bureaus, we hope the new structure can streamline the work, and the Chamber looks forward to working with the Government to provide constructive input.

Chamber Chairman Peter Wong said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to easing the acute shortage of housing and land. The high cost of housing has created unnecessary hardship for ordinary people and made it more difficult to attract and retain the talent Hong Kong needs to grow and expand its economy. The Chamber stands ready to help and advise on how to turn the Chief Executive’s proposals into concrete solutions.”

The new rail infrastructure plan is not only an essential part of the development of the Northern Metropolis, but also links us closer to other GBA cities. The Chamber also welcomes the decision to extend the “Quota free Scheme for Hong Kong Private Cars Travelling to Guangdong via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge” to cover other land boundary control points, which will further help promote the “one hour living circle” vision once the border reopens.

In this regard, the Chamber hopes a breakthrough can be made to allow fully vaccinated travellers with a recent negative PCR test to cross the border without the need for quarantine.

As an international trade and finance hub, we support the Chief Executive’s comments on the importance of fostering closer commercial, trade and investment relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Providing tax concessions for family offices to set up business in Hong Kong will further enhance our appeal as an international financial hub.

We also welcome efforts to further enhance the financial sector through promoting mutual financial market access with the Mainland, developing offshore Renminbi denominated funds and products, promoting cross-border financial technologies, as well as developing Hong Kong into a regional carbon trading centre.

Regarding the MPF “offsetting” arrangement, we hope the Government can come up with an acceptable compensation plan and fully consult all stakeholders ahead of introducing legislative amendments. SMEs are particularly concerned about the changes, especially during these exceptionally difficult years many have exhausted their cash reserves to stay afloat.

The Chamber supports efforts to further develop Hong Kong into an international innovation and technology hub, and the $130 billion invested in Hong Kong’s I&T industry over the past four years has helped the sector boom. The setting up of an InnoLife Healthtech Hub in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Loop will complement the work of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Cyberport and universities’ research. These, combined with plans to use I&T to further increase Hong Kong’s efficiency, will bring us closer to the goal of being a leading international innovation and technology hub.

Nurturing and developing talent will be crucial to the success of our growth. While we welcome the doubling of the annual quota of the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, the Chamber also hopes that the Government can consult businesses more to find out what challenges they have regarding finding suitable talent and also to cope with the issue of labour shortages.

“The Chief Executive announced a wide-range of policies, and in many of those, the GBA plays a central role. We welcome this multi-pronged approach and we look forward to working with various stakeholders and our members to help bring these initiatives to fruition,” said Wong. “Hong Kong is on the cusp of a new era of development. With our success in tackling Covid-19, bringing back stability, and the economy getting back on track, the time is right for Hong Kong to bounce back.”