Hong Kong leader John Lee delivers his first political speech

HONG KONG, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee delivered his first annual policy address on Wednesday, outlining his priorities for the former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Some of the highlights include;

POLITICS

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– Social stability is the prerequisite for our development, and we must get rid of any interference

– The Government will present to the Legislative Council (LegCo) amendments to the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance in the current legislative year to align with the National Flag and Emblem Ordinance national anthem and the national anthem ordinance, if applicable.

– The Government will establish the Rule of Law Education Steering Committee, to be chaired by the Secretary of Justice, to launch a new “Rule of Law Education Train-the-Trainers Programme” to promote consistent and correct messages about the rule of law in the community.

– Strengthen the civil service management system to clearly articulate the core values ​​and standards of conduct that today’s civil servants must uphold and put into practice the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”

ATTRACTING COMPANIES, TALENTS

– Over the past two years, the local workforce has shrunk by approximately 140,000 people. In addition to actively nurturing and retaining local talent, the government will proactively scour the world for talent.

– Lee: We need to be more proactive and aggressive in “competition for business” and “competition for talent”.

– Set aside HK$30 billion from the Future Fund to establish the Co-Investment Fund to attract companies to set up in Hong Kong and invest in their business.

– Launch the Top Talent Pass Scheme to broadly incentivize talent to pursue their career in Hong Kong

– To allow eligible incoming talent to apply, when they become permanent residents, for a refund of the additional stamp duty paid for the purchase of residential property in Hong Kong.

– Individuals who graduated from the world’s top 100 universities within the last five years and who have not yet met the work experience requirement will be eligible for the Top Talent Pass program, subject to an annual quota of 10 000.

– Examine the labor shortage situation in the construction and transport sectors respectively to develop relevant solutions.

ECONOMY

– Establish a new Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited (HKIC) to further optimize the use of fiscal reserves to promote the development of industries and the economy, and to attract and support more businesses to develop their activities in Hong Kong.

INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTER

– Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearinghouses (HKEX) will revise main board listing rules next year to make it easier to raise funds for tech companies that have not yet met profit requirements and commercial registration.

– HKEX also plans to revitalize GEM (formerly known as Growth Enterprise Market) to provide small and medium enterprises and start-ups with a more efficient fundraising platform.

– Strengthen assets as the largest renminbi (RMB) offshore business center, promote the launch of more RMB-denominated investment tools, and improve market infrastructure

– Introduce a bill later this year to waive the stamp duty payable for transactions by two-way market makers, with a view to improving the RMB equity trading mechanism.

– Complete preparations for the launch of Swap Connect’s Northbound Trading as soon as possible and explore enhancements to Bond Connect’s Southbound Trading to facilitate the issuance and trading of more diversified “dim sum” bonds.

– Make Hong Kong an international carbon market.

– Introduce legislation later this year to provide tax relief to qualifying family offices – a key growth segment of the asset and wealth management industry – with the aim of attracting at least 200 family offices to establish or expand their operations in Hong Kong by the end of 2025.

– The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has started preparatory work for the issuance of “e-HKD” (e-Hong Kong dollar) and is working with mainland institutions to expand testing of “e-CNY” (Chinese e-yuan) as a cross-border payment facility in Hong Kong.

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Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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