Hong Kong is equipped with the hardware and software required of a world-class city, and the SARS impact on its economic recovery is temporary, Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa said Saturday.
Addressing the "Business After SARS" Joint Business Community Conference 2003 joined by over 400 participants from Hong Kong's business and academic sectors, Tung noted that "with the work we have done and the foundation we have laid for our economy to recover, I am confident that the SARS impact on Hong Kong's economic recovery is temporary," he concluded.
He stated that the discussion on the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Hong Kong and the Mainland is in the final stage and the signing of the arrangement will open up many new and exciting opportunities for Hong Kong, both in the service sector and the manufacturing sector.
Similarly, arrangements for individual visitors from Guangdong Province to visit Hong Kong, which will be finalized in July, will give an enormous boost to tourism in Hong Kong, he added.
The economic policy adopted by the Hong Kong government in the past several years to reposition and restructure Hong Kong's economy is beginning to work. The rapid growth and expansion of the mainland economy, particularly the Pearl River Delta, continues to benefit Hong Kong's trade and businesses, according to the chief executive.
Tung pointed out that keen business acumen, a well-developed infrastructure, a versatile financial system, robust legal institutions, policies conducive to a free and open society, a clean and efficient civil service, simple and low tax, a large pool of talent and a very cosmopolitan community are all contributable to Hong Kong's position as a world-class city.
"As long as we move with the times, play to our strengths, the strategic position and unique role of Hong Kong cannot be replaced," he pointed out.
Tung cited GDP growth figures of the last three quarters to demonstrate that Hong Kong's economy is on the road to recovery, and that the painful economic restructuring that Hong Kong has been going through is slowly but surely beginning to bear fruit.