HK prepares for Beijing’s 14th five-year plan earlier than usual, marking proactive approach to role in country’s development

29-Jan-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong is preparing for Beijing’s 14th five-year plan earlier than usual, marking a proactive approach towards securing a bigger role for the city in the country’s development.

The Post learned that Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen sent letters to some 20 think tanks in Hong Kong last August, canvassing for views on the city’s development strategy and areas of interest in China’s coming 14th five-year plan.

The move came more than two years ahead of the endorsement of the plan by the National People’s Congress, set for March 2021.

In a recent interview with the Post, Nip said the Hong Kong government started preparatory works for the country’s next blueprint earlier than in previous cases.

For the 12th five-year plan which began in 2011, for example, Hong Kong started compiling suggestions in 2009. For the current and 13th plan, which started in 2016, the Leung Chun-ying administration began work in mid-2014.

Nip, whose bureau is coordinating input for the next stretch, said the government attached great importance to the five-year plan because it had a bearing on Hong Kong’s future development.

“Various policy bureaus are commissioning studies on different topics but we want to engage with think tanks and other experts,” he said. “The Hong Kong government will fight for a role for Hong Kong as the country’s centre for innovation, technology and the creative industries in the 14th five-year plan.”

The Hong Kong government will fight for a role for Hong Kong as the country’s centre for innovation, technology and the creative industries

Patrick Nip, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

The 13th plan, spanning 2016 to 2020, expresses support for Hong Kong in developing innovation technology. Sources said the government did not seek views from think tanks when it was preparing its input.

In 2006, for the first time since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, the city earned a brief mention in China’s 11th five-year plan but only in two lines of text out of a 90-page document. The plan stated the central government’s support for preserving Hong Kong’s status as an international financial, trade and logistics centre.

Professor Lau Siu-kai, head of the now-defunct Central Policy Unit, said that in the years following the 1997 handover, local officials were not used to the idea of securing a role in the country’s development blueprint.

“The fact that the Hong Kong government approached local think tanks at such an early date… signifies a change in the mindset of officials in integrating the city with the mainland,” Lau said.

Chief executive of the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute Andrew Fung Ho-keung, who received Nip’s letter in August, said he appreciated the government’s proactive attitude.

“The government didn’t seek our views regarding the 12th and 13th five-year plans,” Fung said. “I’m impressed by what it is doing for the next blueprint.”

The fact that the Hong Kong government approached local think tanks at such an early date… signifies a change in the mindset of officials

Lau Siu-kai, former Central Policy Unit head

Hong Kong, one of the world’s freest markets, has been actively campaigning in the past decade to be a part of the mainland’s five-year plan system, a foundation of the planned economy since the days of Mao Zedong.

In the 12th plan in 2011, a chapter was dedicated to the positioning of Hong Kong and Macau in China’s overall development for the first time ever.

In the 13th instalment, the chapter for both cities indicated Beijing’s support for Hong Kong in consolidating and elevating its position as an international finance, transport and trade hub. It also pledged support for developing Hong Kong into an international legal, arbitration and mediation services centre.

The plan laid out continued backing for Hong Kong as an offshore yuan trading centre and an international asset management nexus, as well as intentions to increase value in sectors such as finance, trade, logistics and professional services.

Senior officials of China’s National Development and Reform Commission a macroeconomic management agency under the Chinese State Council earlier said the coming 14th five-year plan would have a section again on Hong Kong and Macau.

Nip said Hong Kong should study where support from the central government was needed in the next five years and how it could use its strengths to contribute to the country’s economic development.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-prepares-beijing-14th-000130089.html

 


Category: Hong Kong

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