Lam aims to strengthen cooperation
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is eager to extend cross-boundary collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland, acknowledging the huge opportunities the mainland’s economic miracle have brought the city.
Hailed as a dynamic hub for global finance, Hong Kong has seen its financial services sector earn a worldwide reputation and become one of the twin pillars of the local economy, Lam said at a meeting with Guo Shuqing, chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), in Beijing on Tuesday.
Despite its impeccable strength in financial services, which currently account for 17 percent of Hong Kong’s GDP, the city faces intense competition from a cluster of rival centers for a leading role in global finance.
“This makes cementing its role as an international financial center a real issue for Hong Kong. And it can never go without the unswerving support from the central government,” Lam said.
The remarks were made on Lam’s second full day of meetings in Beijing as part of her first official visit to the capital since she took office on July 1. Lam led a delegation of her top aides, including Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and other heads of policy bureaus, to meet various ministries in her quest for more bilateral cooperation in future.
Having worked for the Hong Kong government for a good 37 years, Lam said she has never been in charge of financial affairs. This makes her believe paying a visit to CBRC will offer a fine start to her term as chief executive.
Guo noted that the banking industry stands as the absolute dominant force in the mainland’s financial system. Over the first half of this year credit from mainland lenders grew 950 billion yuan ($141.7 billion) year on year, indicating a better-than-expected performance of the country’s real economy.
Echoing Guo’s remarks, Lam said Hong Kong’s banking industry had also fared well so far this year, shown by a 10 percent growth in asset value, a steady rise in new credit and a relatively low bad-loan level.
“As Hong Kong is looking to ride high on the undertakings and goals of the Belt and Road Initiative and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area plan, this calls for mainland and Hong Kong’s banking regulators joining hands in a more proactive manner,” she said.
In a sign of Hong Kong’s determination to play a bigger part in the Belt and Road push and Greater Bay Area plan, the special administrative region is looking forward to closely joining forces with National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to work out details of the two grand plans, Lam said at a meeting with He Lifeng, chairman of NDRC, on Tuesday afternoon.
Beachgoers give globs of palm oil wide berth at Upper Cheung Sha Beach in Lantau on Tuesday; Hong Kong authorities have closed 13 beaches after palm-oil spilt in a ship collision clogged the sands.