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Tsang Delivers 2006-07 Policy Address

by Mary Swire, for, Hong Kong

12 October 2006

Boosting economic development, helping families and intensified efforts to protect the environment will top the Government's policy agenda in the next year, Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Donald Tsang announced in his Policy Address on Wednesday.

Delivering his second Policy Address, entitled 'Proactive Pragmatic Always People First', Mr Tsang also promised to lead open and inclusive discussions on a roadmap for the further development of a democratic political system in Hong Kong.

On the economic front, Mr Tsang unveiled initiatives to boost financial services, trade and logistics, information technology, cultural and creative industries, the performing arts and labour rights protection.

The Chief Executive said Hong Kong needed to consolidate its position as an international financial centre in Asia, which was in line with the interests of both the country and the region.

He said further liberalisation was needed to broaden the source of well-qualified foreign enterprises seeking to list in Hong Kong and urged listing rules changes to make this happen.

Mr Tsang added the State Council was actively pursuing the expansion of Renminbi (RMB) business in Hong Kong, including the settlement in RMB of direct imports from the Mainland and the issuance of RMB financial bonds.

"The SAR Government is fully prepared to launch these two new types of business as soon as possible," he announced, continuing:

"We will also endeavour to attract to Hong Kong some of the offshore securities investment business of Mainland insurance agencies."

On the environment front, Mr Tsang pledged to provide financial incentives to phase out older diesel vehicles, reduce registration tax for low-emission vehicles, review air quality objectives, and to introduce trial scheme on waste charging.

Meanwhile, in response to the convergence of telephony, broadcasting and the Internet, he announced that legislation will be introduced to form a new Communications Authority (merging the functions of the Broadcasting Authority and the Office of the Telecommunications Authority) and to introduce a regulatory framework to promote innovation and competition on a par with advanced international standards.

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