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A deep and wide range of aircraft-related businesses

This morning I attended and gave an opening speech at the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) Asia 2017. It was three years ago that the ISTAT last held its Asia Conference in Hong Kong, at which 360 participants took part. This year the number of participants has increased to 800, with most coming from overseas.

The ISTAT is a non-profit making organisation whose members are mostly involved in manufacturing, trading, brokering, leasing, maintaining and appraising or other businesses related to transport aircraft. The ISTAT has over 30 years of history and more than 4 100 members worldwide.

With a large population and vast territory, China's aviation industry has undergone rapid development. China has now become a leading country in aviation and will be a major manufacturer of aircraft in the future. It is estimated that in the next two decades, mainland airlines alone will need 6 000 new aircraft.

Within China, Hong Kong has a traditional edge in advanced services. As long as we strive to create the right conditions and seize the opportunities, aircraft trading, brokering, leasing and appraising can all become Hong Kong's strengths, and can be developed into a wide range of industries over time.

This is why, in the Policy Address released four months ago, I proposed to amend the Inland Revenue Ordinance to offer tax concessions, so as to attract companies to develop aircraft leasing business in Hong Kong. The Government is already working on the legislative amendment.

Five years ago, when I was running for election, I suggested that Hong Kong should diversify its economic base. While it is imperative to consolidate and strengthen our traditional industries, Hong Kong has to keep exploring new strengths and gradually nurture them into well-developed industries. In doing so, we can provide new directions and open up new space for our young generation to develop their careers.

May 10, 2017