Lam delays speech on policy for Beijing talks

Lam said she would go to Beijing this month and aimed to hold her policy address by the end of November.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has postponed her annual policy address scheduled for tomorrow in order to go to Beijing for talks on how the central government can help with the financial hub’s economic recovery.

Lam said she would go to Beijing this month and aimed to hold her policy address by the end of November.

She said she would discuss wide-ranging measures with the central government, including some related to the Greater Bay area, a region that includes Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in China’s Guangdong province, the finance sector and tech innovation.

As the Chinese mainland’s economy rebounds while external economic recovery will take a long time, Hong Kong needs the central government’s support in its economic recovery and needs to further integrate into the overall national development strategies, especially the Greater Bay Area development, Lam said.

She said if this year’s policy address can include supportive policies of the central government, it will be more helpful to restore the confidence of Hong Kong residents in the economy and give new impetus to Hong Kong’s business activities, which is why she decided to postpone the address. “It’s mainly in the public interest of Hong Kong,” she said.

She also said postponing the policy address will not affect the work of the Legislative Council, adding that there are precedents for similar practices and there are no legal issues.

“It is not a matter of waiting for directions.” Lam said, “It is a matter of responding to a positive indication from the central government that they want to take into account the chief executive’s recommendations, that they really want to facilitate those policy measures so that Hong Kong people have more confidence that the economy will bounce back.”

The violent protests and later the novel coronavirus have battered the city’s economy with full year gross domestic product forecast to contract 6 percent to 8 percent.

Lam said the central government had asked her to make the trip to Beijing. She will visit the southern city of Shenzhen for this week’s anniversary of the establishment of China’s first special economic zone there 40 years ago.

President Xi Jinping is due to deliver a speech in Shenzhen tomorrow but Lam said she had not scheduled a meeting with him there.

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