HK chief executive highlights economy, livelihood, housing in policy address

Xinhua
Lam said that in the coming few years, Hong Kong is entering a period when opportunities and challenges co-exist.
Xinhua
AFP

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivers her first policy address in Hong Kong on October 11, 2017. 

Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor delivered her policy address Wednesday, in which she highlighted economy and housing among other areas, striving to set a new starting point for Hong Kong.

Lam's first policy address during her term covers good governance, diversified economy, nurturing talent, improving people's livelihood and connecting with young people.

Regarding diversification of Hong Kong's economy, Lam said the current-term HKSAR government believed that both innovation and technology (I&T) and the creative industries have a competitive edge and much potential.

The government has set a goal to double the Gross Domestic Expenditure on research and development as a percentage of the gross domestic product from the current 0.73 percent to 1.5 percent within the current-term government's five-year tenure, Lam said, adding that efforts in eight key areas, including resources for R&D, nurturing a talent pool, venture capital and scientific research infrastructure will be set up for Hong Kong to catch up in the innovation and technology race.

In order to further enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong, Lam said, the government will implement the two-tier profits tax system in 2018. It suggested that the profits tax rate for the first 2 million HK dollars (about 256,410 U.S. dollars) of profits of enterprises will be lowered to 8.25 percent, or half of the standard profits tax rate.

As for housing and livelihood, Lam said the government will strive to shorten the waiting time for public rental housing, which is a long-established safety net for the grassroots and low-income families.

She also proposed the "Starter Homes" project for middle-class families in Hong Kong to re-ignite the hopes of families with a higher income to own a home in the face of rising private property prices.

As for youth development, Lam said the government will do its best to address young people's concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encourage their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate.

"As regards encouraging young people to participate in public policy discussion and debate, we will appoint more young people to various government committees with the aim of increasing the overall ratio of youth members to 15 percent within the current-term government," she said.

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