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HK's Traditional Advantages as Int'l Financial Center Unchanged

Xinhua News Agency, March 14, 2011 Adjust font size:

Hong Kong's advantaged position as an international financial center has not changed, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday.

The central government will continue to render strong support for the long-term stability and prosperity in Hong Kong and Macao, Wen said at a press conference after the closing meeting of the national legislature's annual session.

The central government will support Hong Kong in developing itself into an offshore RMB settlement center and international assets management center, a move that has been mapped out in the national 12th Five-Year Plan, said Wen.

Many of the pilot programs the mainland has taken in the reform of its financial sector has been firstly conducted in Hong Kong, Wen said.

He said that the RMB deposits in Hong Kong have exceeded 300 billion, and the country has also conducted pilot programs of settling cross-border trade with RMB in Hong Kong.

Moreover, the cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland, in particular the Pearl River Delta areas, has been enhanced, and fast progress has been made in developing Hong Kong's infrastructure projects which link the mainland, Wen said.

He said that all these steps have facilitated the freer flow of goods and personnel between Hong Kong and the mainland, and thus will help consolidate and develop Hong Kong's status as an international financial center.

"I believe Hong Kong has the ability to cope with not only regional but also international competition and risks," Wen said.

Confronted by a complex external environment, Hong Kong needs to be mindful of potential perils and make the most of good advantages to meet the challenges head-on, Wen said.

He said Hong Kong should pay close attention to three things.

Firstly, Hong Kong should have a long-term and scientific development plan. Secondly, Hong Kong should attach great importance to addressing those underlying problems in its economic and social development. Thirdly, Hong Kong should work hard to improve the people's well being.

Meanwhile, Wen said Hong Kong should pay close attention to the development of education and science and technologies, so as to sustain the momentum of its future development.

He said that Hong Kong should further develop its service sector, including financial services and tourism, and further develop those small innovative high-tech enterprises, so as to create more jobs.

With sufficient government revenue and ample foreign exchange reserves, Hong Kong needs to make the most of the favorable conditions to improve its social safety net, in particular, to take good care of the vulnerable groups, thus making people in Hong Kong live a better life, Wen said.

Also at the press conference, he recalled his tour to Hong Kong in 2003, when he attended a signing ceremony of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Hong Kong and the mainland.

Wen said he wanted very much to visit Hong Kong again, to see the people in Hong Kong and extend greetings to them.


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