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French Minister of Economy and Finance Visits Hong Kong

By WU Yi and CAO Haiyang (People's Daily Online)

09:51, April 27, 2013

HONG KONG, April 26 (People's Daily Online) -- Pierre Moscovici, the French minister of Economy and Finance visited Hong Kong this evening and said that France and Hong Kong have many shared interests in cooperation on the internationalization of the yuan.

After joining President Hollande’s delegation to Beijing earlier this week, he insisted on visiting Hong Kong before returning to France since Hong Kong is a major investor in Europe, Moscovici said in a welcoming dinner organized by the French Consulate-General in Hong Kong & Macao.

In his address, Moscovici maintained the new French government has been actively taking measures to reform itself into recovery and to retain France’s global competitiveness. Strong measures have been taken to slash structural deficits so as to run a balanced budget by 2017. He said that the French fiscal consolidation, contrary to common perception, will rely more on spending cuts rather than tax increases. It is noted that major structural reforms, including reforms in labor markets, pension system, housing, energy and transports have already been listed on the agenda.

According to Moscovici, France is pushing to improve the long term resilience of the euro area. He believes that the euro area should, in the medium term, have a fiscal stabilizer by creating an unemployment benefit fund.

Moscovici said French exports to Hong Kong have doubled over the last three years, resulting in a surplus of 5.4 billion euros in 2012, the second largest commercial surplus after the U.K. Major export goods include luxury products, aeronautic products and information & communication equipment. Trade related to protection of environment and sustainable development may increase in future, Moscovici added.

The internationalization of the yuan is one potential area for cooperation, Moscovici argued. He said that the Paris financial center plays a prominent role in the trade and investment flows between China and French-speaking Africa and that Paris has everything needed to become the main offshore yuan market within the Eurozone.

Moscovici will meet with the Financial Secretary of HKSAR, John Tsang tomorrow morning.

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