Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco
Hong Kong
Chief Executive delivers 2018 Policy Address

Hong Kong’s economy in the first half of the year grew by 4 percent in real terms compared to the previous year, riding on the broadly positive global economic environment.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam reported the figure while unveiling her Policy Address on Oct 10. At the same time, she cautioned that there were increasing uncertainties in the global economy in light of trade friction. She said the Hong Kong government would closely monitor changes in the environment so it could swiftly respond and provide support to the needy.

The unsteady trade environment has hastened Hong Kong’s ongoing efforts to diversify the economy in order to withstand external shocks. Specifically, Mrs. Lam proposed a series of measures to advance the development of innovation and technology, including the following notable ones:

* Injecting HK$20 billion (US$2.56 billion) into the Research Endowment Fund, launching a new Research Matching Grant Scheme with a total commitment of HK$3 billion (US$385 million) and setting up fellowship initiatives to strengthen the pool of talent in research and I&T; and

* Establishing two I&T clusters at the Hong Kong Science Park focusing on healthcare technologies and artificial intelligence and robotics technologies.

She said that Hong Kong remains committed to attracting talent to the city noting the various high value-added and I&T-dedicated initiatives.

She also laid out initiatives to support the maritime, insurance and film industries. They include tax measures to foster the ship leasing business, tax concessions for the marine insurance sector, facilitating Hong Kong’s provision of dispute resolution services to the global maritime industry and enhanced financing for the training and nurturing of industry talent.

To address the challenges of land supply shortage, the Chief Executive said the government was determined to identify and produce land, as well as build a land reserve. She announced that the government would increase the ratio of public housing, allocate more land to public housing and undertake that 70 percent of housing units on the government’s newly developed land will be for public housing. The government would also reactivate the revitalization program for industrial buildings and expand it to allow wholesale conversion of industrial buildings for transitional housing use.

To promote a more livable city and further reduce roadside pollution, the government would tighten emission standards and phase out Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles by the end of 2023. In developing the renewable energy sector the government would take the lead in supporting individuals and NGOs to install renewable energy facilities.

She also announced plans to launch a government green bond program with a borrowing ceiling of HK$100 billion (US$12.76 billion) to promote the development of green finance.

Mrs. Lam also said Hong Kong would fully seize the development potential of the region stemming from the Belt & Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area development.

2018 Policy Address

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