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Economic Development Commission held fifth meeting today

The Economic Development Commission (EDC), under the leadership of the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, held its fifth meeting at the Central Government Offices today (June 23).

The meeting discussed issues relating to the work of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government in complementing the National 13th Five-Year Plan.

"I have mentioned in my Policy Address this year that the SAR Government has started preparations for the National 13th Five-Year Plan. We have initially identified some areas of study and will submit the HKSAR's proposals to the National Development and Reform Commission for consideration after consulting the relevant sectors and committees. I welcome EDC members' views covering the areas of finance, trade, the maritime industry, the cruise industry, as well as the technology, cultural and creative industries that are related to the economic development of Hong Kong," said Mr Leung.

The EDC was also briefed on the work progress of its four working groups, namely the Working Group on Transportation (TWG); the Working Group on Convention and Exhibition Industries and Tourism (CETWG); the Working Group on Manufacturing Industries, Innovative Technology, and Cultural and Creative Industries (MICWG); and the Working Group on Professional Services (PSWG).

The MICWG has recommended specific measures to support the post-production sector of the film industry. Specifically, the MICWG recommends that the Government should consider (i) providing cash grants – covering remuneration of local members of the production crew and expenditure incurred in post-production work carried out in Hong Kong – to quality small-budget movies; (ii) optimising the existing Scheme for Financing Film Production of the Film Development Fund to increase film production and variety; and (iii) collaborating with stakeholders to promote Hong Kong's professional post-production services to expand the non-local markets. The recommended measures were endorsed by the EDC.

The MICWG has also established an Expert Group on Fashion Industry to study the potential and competitive edge of the fashion industry in a comprehensive manner and to make specific recommendations to the Government on the support policies and measures needed by the industry as well as the institutional arrangements required. The Expert Group, which covers both the traditional manufacturing industries and the design industry, is chaired by Mr Victor Lo, Convenor of the MICWG, and comprises members from the textiles and clothing, fashion design and other fashion-related industries as well as relevant institutes.

The PSWG has submitted six specific proposals under three themes, namely (i) to pursue trade agreements for further trade liberalisation in professional services by enhancing government-to-government liaison with the Mainland and overseas economies; (ii) to identify opportunities for Hong Kong's positioning in the National Five-Year Plans to enhance collaborative development between the two places' professional services; and (iii) to promote the Hong Kong brand and elevate the competitiveness of Hong Kong professional services. The proposals were endorsed by the EDC. The PSWG is developing other specific proposals in collaboration with stakeholders.

The TWG supports the early implementation of the Three-Runway System project of Hong Kong International Airport in order to maintain its competitiveness, and has recommended that the Government should implement measures to promote the aerospace financing business in Hong Kong. It also considers that Hong Kong is well placed to play a larger role as the springboard for the Mainland's maritime sector to expand operations abroad. For the upcoming 13th Five-Year Plan period, Hong Kong has scope to encourage more Mainland shipping companies to register and establish operations in Hong Kong, and more quality ships to register in Hong Kong on a long-term basis.

The CETWG has discussed the progress of Kai Tak Fantasy – International Ideas Competition on Urban Planning and Design. It reaffirms that Kai Tak Fantasy should be developed into a world-class tourism destination which can appeal to the preferred segments of visitors as earlier identified and recommended by the CETWG. The CETWG has also noted the progress of the demand study for new convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong.

The terms of reference of the EDC are to provide visionary direction and advice to the Government on the overall strategy and policy to broaden Hong Kong's economic base and to enhance Hong Kong's economic growth and development; and in particular, explore and identify growth sectors or clusters of sectors which present opportunities for Hong Kong's further economic growth, and recommend possible policy and other support for these industries.

Monday, June 23, 2014