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Hong Kong has endless opportunities with backing of country: CY Leung

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-18 16:30

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong enjoys endless opportunities with its participation in the national strategies, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Leung Chun-ying said during his last annual policy address on Wednesday.

"China is playing an increasingly prominent and leading role in the global economy," Leung said, adding that "Hong Kong's dual advantages of 'one country, two systems' and its role as the 'super-connector' are becoming more apparent."

He said leveraging the National 13th Five-Year Plan and the Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong enjoys endless opportunities as it excels in "what the country needs, and what Hong Kong is good at."

Leung said the Hong Kong SAR government is exploring further with the Chinese mainland the expansion and enhancement of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in the areas of investment, economic and technical cooperation.

"We expect to achieve some concrete results by the middle of this year," he added.

"The National 13th Five-Year Plan has confirmed Hong Kong's status as a global offshore RMB business hub," Leung said, adding that "the demand arising from the Belt and Road Initiative and the Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds Arrangement will enable Hong Kong to further expand its RMB business."

In regard to the Belt and Road Initiative, Leung reiterated that the 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 Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Academy has embarked on initial discussions with the rail operators of several countries.

The Hong Kong International Aviation Academy established by the Airport Authority signed an agreement last month with National School of Civil Aviation of France to jointly nurture aviation professionals for Hong Kong and the region.

The SAR government is also prepared to organize talks or short-term training on the operation of the SAR government for visiting officials from 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.

New initiatives include updating or fine-tuning primary and secondary school curricula and producing appropriate teaching resources, providing students with more opportunities to study foreign languages, increasing the quotas to 5,600 for students' mainland exchange programs along the Silk Road this year, and encouraging, through the Quality Education Fund, students to engage in exchange activities in the Mainland and countries along the Belt and Road, he said.

To foster cooperation and exchanges between Hong Kong and countries along the Belt and Road, Leung said the government will consider relaxing visa requirements for nationals of those countries for employment, study and visit. "We have reached a consensus with Belarus on mutual visa exemption and are planning to relax visa requirements for Cambodian nationals."

He also mentioned the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and said Hong Kong can support the AIIB in such areas as project financing, bond issuance, investment, financial management and foreign exchange management.

"Hong Kong has been officially invited to join the AIIB. We expect the relevant procedures to be completed by the middle of this year," he added.

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