Motion on “Actively Seizing the Opportunities Arising from the Country’s New Development Pattern Featuring ‘Dual Circulation’ to Revitalize the Post-pandemic Economy” (2021.07.08)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): President, the COVID-19 epidemic has dealt a heavy blow to the economy of Hong Kong and at the same time highlighted the shortcomings of the Hong Kong economy. Under the epidemic, while many grass roots, frontline workers and SME owners have had a very hard time, some individual industries are making handsome gains and most middle-class people are safe and sound. This scenario precisely reflects the seriously lopsided development of Hong Kong’s economic industries, the significant deterioration of its overall competitiveness, and the problem of disparity between the rich and the poor. Now that the economy is gradually recovering, the Government must seriously consider the directions for Hong Kong’s economy in future.

I am very thankful to Mr Martin LIAO for proposing today’s motion, which allows Members to discuss Hong Kong’s economic development from the perspective of the country’s economic policy of “dual circulation”. In recent years, western countries have been suppressing the rise of China by introducing various unreasonable suppression measures and even waging trade wars, and the country has taken many measures in response, including the “dual circulation” economy under discussion today. The “dual circulation” advocated by the country means taking the domestic market as the mainstay while enabling domestic and foreign markets to interact positively with each other. In fact, domestic circulation means striving for the expansion of the country’s domestic demand and the development of the domestic market, so as to avoid over reliance on the international market. As for enabling domestic and foreign markets to interact positively with each other, it means that the international market will not be given up so that the two forms of market activities can develop jointly under “dual circulation”.

In fact, “dual circulation” is of great importance to Hong Kong because Hong Kong is the intersection point of “dual circulation”. If Hong Kong can participate in the development of “dual circulation”, it will be able to fully enjoy the benefits brought about by the “dual circulation” between China and the rest of the world. As for international circulation, with its unique advantage of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong has been playing an important role between the country and the rest of the world. Particularly, Hong Kong has done a lot in the areas of international financial, trading and professional services. As the game between China and the United States intensifies, Hong Kong’s role as a liaison may become more important in the future. What Hong Kong needs to do now is to reinforce its status as an international financial and commercial centre and maintain its internationalization, so that we will be able to make contributions and gain benefits when the country needs us in the future.

As for domestic circulation, many analyses have pointed out that the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (“GBA”) is the best entry point. There is a huge market in GBA and its future has become even more promising after the country decided to make the domestic market bigger and stronger. As the Financial Secretary has said, the number of middle-class people in the Mainland will increase from 400 million at present to 800 million 10 years later. As domestic demand continues to expand, Hong Kong will be able to integrate into the development of GBA in the areas of financial, trading and logistics, innovation and technology, professional services and so on. Therefore, I hope that the Government can expedite the implementation of the various proposals in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, so as to open up the GBA market as soon as possible.

President, I wish to talk about the insurance industry. I believe the insurance industry will also become a beneficiary of domestic and international circulation. On international circulation, with the support of the Government, it has been planned in recent years that Hong Kong will be gradually developed into an international insurance hub, and the major businesses include marine insurance, specialty insurance, insurance-linked securities and reinsurance. It is expected that enterprises from all over the world will be attracted to participate in the relevant businesses. Hong Kong’s insurance industry should be able to contribute to the country’s promotion of international circulation. As for domestic circulation, the insurance industry is also striving to integrate into GBA. We are awaiting the country’s formal approval for the establishment of after-sales service centres, and will then strive to sell Hong Kong insurance products in GBA. Given that Hong Kong’s insurance products have all along been popular among Mainland residents, the industry believes if it can successfully tap into the Mainland market, it will be able to enjoy the benefits brought about by an expansion of the Mainland market and introduce the characteristics of Hong Kong products to the Mainland residents. Therefore, the industry is ready to welcome this huge market.

In fact, the national policy of “dual circulation” will bring opportunities to Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Government should be well prepared to lead various sectors to embrace the new era. Thank you, President.

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