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HK chief executive highlights economy, livelihood in policy address

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

01-18-2017 20:14 BJT

HONG KONG, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying delivered his policy address for the year of 2017 here on Wednesday, in which he highlighted economic and social issues including boosting innovation and technology, increasing housing supply and Hong Kong's engagement in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, delivers the policy address for the year of 2017 at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, south China, Jan. 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, delivers the policy address for the year of 2017 at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, south China, Jan. 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

It was Leung's fifth and also his last policy address since he was sworn in on July 1, 2012.

The current-term Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government upholds the vision of "Developing the Economy and Improving People's Livelihood," Leung said, "We believe that only through economic development can we improve people's livelihood and promote social harmony and inclusion."

In retrospect of Hong Kong's achievements during the past four years, Leung said Hong Kong's economy has seen moderate growth and receding inflation, as the Hong Kong SAR government maintained a sound fiscal position; the working population increased in total by 160,000, while the unemployment rate remained at a very low level.

On the economic side, Leung said in tandem with reinforcing the competitive edges of traditional industries, it is also necessary to foster diversification of industries, promote re-industrialization and press ahead with innovation and technology development to increase output value.

The Hong Kong SAR government will request universities to conduct more impactful and translational research projects that meet Hong Kong's needs, and to refine their knowledge and technology transfer plans within six months and strengthen the role of their knowledge transfer offices in co-ordinating and commercializing research outputs, he said.

The Hong Kong SAR government also aims at expediting the increase of housing supply and seeking a balance between land development and conservation, he said.

In the next five years, estimated public housing production by the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society will be about 94,500 units.

The Hong Kong SAR government's housing supply target for the next decade starting 2017-2018 is 460,000 units, including 200,000 public rental housing (PRH) units and 80,000 subsidized sale flats.

On private housing, the projected supply of first-hand residential properties for the coming three to four years was 94,000 units. This is 45 percent higher than the figure at the beginning of the Hong Kong SAR government's current term, and a record high since the regular release of supply statistics 12 years ago.

Meanwhile, Leung pointed out that the most distinctive characteristic of land use planning in Hong Kong is the high proportion of country park area, which accounts for 40 percent of Hong Kong's total land area, and is six times that of its total residential land.

"The current-term government is committed to environmental protection and ecological conservation, and seeks to strike the right balance between development and conservation," Leung said, adding that "we will seek to conserve and revitalize the ecology and culture of rural areas based on the sustainability principle, and respond to the aspirations of urban dwellers for urban-rural symbiosis."

In regard to the Belt and Road Initiative, Leung reiterated that the Hong Kong SAR government will continue to fully support it and will strive to give full play to Hong Kong's role as a "super-connector," as well as creating opportunities for young people and boosting the social and economic development in the coming decades.

For example, he said, in support of the Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong can provide training programs for the Belt and Road countries. The government will continue to promote cooperation and exchanges in education to help Hong Kong students gain a better understanding of the countries along the Belt and Road, thereby strengthening people-to-people bonds, he said.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, Leung said, adding that over the past two decades, China has made remarkable achievements, playing an increasingly important role in international affairs.

With the rapid growth in the Chinese mainland and the favorable initiatives offered by the country, the current-term Hong Kong SAR government and the Hong Kong community shall make good use of the unique dual advantages of "one country, two systems," leverage economic development for improving people's livelihood, and at the same time contribute to the country's development, he said.

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