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Chinese Vice Premier Li announces supportive measures for Hong Kong

08-17-2011 14:16 BJT

HONG KONG, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang announced here on Wednesday that new policies and measures have been adopted by the central government to support Hong Kong's development and deepen the economic and financial cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech at the Forum on 12th Five-Year Plan and Mainland-Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Financial Cooperation in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 17, 2011. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

The policies, which were announced in Li's keynote at a forum in the day, mainly focuses on the opening of the mainland market to Hong Kong in trade of services, support for Hong Kong's standing as an international financial center and Hong Kong's development of RMB business.

Li said the policies and measures were "consistent with our policy of opening to Hong Kong first under the 'one country, two systems' and aimed at taking mainland-Hong Kong economic and financial cooperation to a new high." In terms of services trade, Li said that the mainland will take further steps to broaden market access for both traditional and emerging service sectors in Hong Kong, including medical services, construction services, legal services, and testing and certification, and will support Hong Kong travel agencies in setting up businesses on the mainland.

Thresholds for professional service suppliers will also be lowered, and the central government will continue to push the " early and pilot implementation" exercises in Guangdong and other provinces and municipalities, Li said.

He said the aim is to basically achieve liberalization of services trade before the end of the 12th Five-Year Program period.

On the financial front, Li acknowledged that Hong Kong's financial sector is "where its core competitiveness lies" and the central government will help beef up its status as an international financial center.

Specific measures include the launch of the exchange-traded fund constituted by Hong Kong stocks, encouraging more mainland- based enterprises to get listed in Hong Kong, allowing Hong Kong- invested banks on the mainland to engage in mutual fund business, the vice premier said.

Hong Kong banks and insurance companies will also be allowed to play a bigger role in the mainland, Li said, adding that support will be provided for building Hong Kong into an international asset management center, which will help Hong Kong and the mainland work together to overcome the impact of international financial volatility.

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