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Promoting our economic development

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in Bali, Indonesia has successfully concluded, and I have made good use of this trip to promote Hong Kong's economic development.

At the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and the APEC Business Advisory Council Dialogue, we discussed the establishment of a permanent, resilient financial platform among APEC's member economies and the promotion of trade liberalisation in the region. At the meetings I suggested that Hong Kong could contribute to these aims, given our status as an international financial and business centre and our country's premier offshore Renminbi business centre, and with our sound legal system and our rich experience in facilitating regional financial development. Separately, I had bilateral talks with leaders of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to pursue an HK-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, with a view to further enhancing trade and investment flows between Hong Kong and ASEAN, generating new opportunities for businesses in Hong Kong and boosting economic growth in the longer term.

Besides seeking new opportunities for Hong Kong internationally, I also met with President Xi Jinping in Bali to explore how Hong Kong could contribute to the country's continued development and opening up, and how we could create opportunities for various local sectors while supporting the country's economic development. When I pay a duty visit to Beijing at the end of this year, I will again put forward some specific proposals from the SAR Government to the President to seek the support of the Central Government. Meanwhile, the SAR Government will take every opportunity to conduct discussions and preparatory work with the relevant central ministries. Later this year, I will attend a Beijing-Hong Kong co-operation meeting in Beijing. During my stay there, I will call on the central ministries in charge of finance to discuss how we can further give play to our strengths to promote the financial development of both the country and Hong Kong.

Apart from reporting on my trip to Bali, I would also like to tell you that, according to the Chairman of the Financial Services Development Council, the first batch of reports of the Council is almost ready and detailed recommendations for promoting Hong Kong's financial development will be submitted to the SAR Government shortly.

I, together with my colleagues in the SAR Government, will continue to work hard to explore opportunities both inside and outside the country to boost Hong Kong's economy.

October 8, 2013