英文

Editorial:Policy address: setting sights on the north

【明報專訊】Chief Executive Carrie Lam has postponed her upcoming policy address, explaining that she needs to consult the central government and seek its support late this month regarding a series of economic recovery proposals that involve the mainland. But some have questioned whether the decision was made to ''accommodate'' President Xi Jinping's inspection tour in Shenzhen. Because of the current political and social atmosphere in Hong Kong, anything that involves the mainland or the central government is often met with lots of speculations. One who believes it never doubts it. One who doubts it never believes it. The postponement of the policy address at the eleventh hour is unprecedented. However, given the strain of the pandemic on Hong Kong people's livelihood and the economy and the external environment, it is impossible to ''move on amid the pandemic'' without setting one's sights on the north. It will also be desirable if the policy address contains more substance. The Hong Kong government has put forth multiple proposals to the central government regarding financial interconnection and intercommunication, Shenzhen and Hong Kong's collaboration on innovative technologies, the consolidation of the city's shipping industry and so on. It is hoped that the abrupt changes to the arrangement of the policy address will not bring about only minor adjustments, but new measures that are bold and vigorous and that can help Hong Kong come out from the difficulties of the pandemic.

The announcement of delaying the policy address has come all of a sudden, only a short time before the first meeting of this year's Legco session to be held on Wednesday (today). Lam said she has put forward a series of economic revitalisation proposals that involve the mainland to the central government, hoping to help Hong Kong out of the present plight. She was informed over the weekend that she has to travel to Beijing and attend coordination meetings with central ministries late this month. If the central government supports her proposals, the measures concerned will be included in the policy address and announced altogether by the end of November.

The mainland has seen a V-shaped rebound in its economy after bringing the pandemic under control. Among all the major economies across the world, only China can report economic growth this year. By comparison, more than half a year into its battle against the coronavirus, Hong Kong is still mired in the mud and struggling hard. The city has failed to break the cycle of recurrent outbreaks. The economy has also shown no signs of improvement. It is expected that the Hong Kong government will have a deficit budget over the next couple of years. The financial reserves that were originally over HK$1 trillion have diminished significantly by HK$300 billion for the sake of relief measures amid the pandemic. In view of the serious condition of the pandemic in Europe and America, the world economy has largely weakened. Hong Kong has found it very hard to move on as a highly open, small economy in times of the pandemic, not to mention its awkward situation and difficulty to have the best of both worlds amid the rivalry between two major powers of the world. In order to revitalise the economy, we need to find an area to home in on. The issue is not about whether relying on the mainland or the Greater Bay Area is the ''only option''. It is about why we should grasp the chance now that there is an existing option before us and seek mutual benefit and win together.

According to Lam's description, the revitalisation measures for which the Hong Kong government is seeking support from the central government are mostly about the economy, like arrangements for trading and professional services in the Greater Bay Area, the expansion of interconnection and intercommunication in the financial field, the promotion of co-operation on innovative technologies between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and the consolidation of the city's status as a shipping hub (particularly the issues surrounding its aviation industry). If the concrete measures for revitalising the economy put forth to Beijing by the Hong Kong government are truly viable and effective, they should help Hong Kong considerably in coping with the current difficulties.

明報社評 2020.10.13:疫境前行向北望 施政須謀破困局

新一份《施政報告》押後宣讀,行政長官林鄭月娥解釋,當局有一系列振興措施涉及內地,需於本月下旬跟中央商討,爭取支持,有人則懷疑押後是「遷就」國家主席習近平視察深圳行程。當下香港政治社會氣氛,但凡涉及內地或中央,往往有很多揣測,信者恒信、不信者恒不信,《施政報告》臨時押後前所未有,然而疫下香港民生經濟困頓,觀乎目前外圍形勢,「疫境前行」無法不向北望,《施政報告》內容若能更紮實亦是好事。港府就金融互聯互通、港深創科合作、疫下鞏固本港航運業等,向中央提出多項建議,期望《施政報告》這次轉折,帶來的不止是一些微調,而是有助香港走出疫下困境的強而有力新措施。

本年度立法會首次會議周三召開,押後宣讀《施政報告》消息來得倉卒,林鄭表示,早前她向中央提出一系列涉及內地合作的振興措施,希望有助香港擺脫困境,她在周末收到通知,本月下旬赴京,參與內地部委協調會議,倘若中央支持,相關措施便可納入《施政報告》,在11月底之前一併公布。

內地疫情受控,經濟V形反彈,放眼全球主要經濟體,只有中國可望今年錄得經濟增長,相比之下,香港與新冠病毒搏鬥大半年,至今仍在泥沼中苦苦掙扎,既未能走出疫情反反覆覆的迴圈,經濟亦沒有起色,未來數年港府預料都會出現赤字預算,原本過萬億元的財政儲備,亦因為需要疫下紓困而大減3000億元。刻下歐美疫情嚴重,世界經濟疲不能興,香港作為高度開放小型經濟體,疫境前行本已相當困難,何况香港還身處大國博弈之中,角色尷尬,不易左右逢源。振興經濟要有着力點,現在的問題,不是爭論背靠內地或大灣區是否「唯一選擇」,而是眼前既然有現成選擇,為何不去把握機會,尋求互利共贏。

根據林鄭說法,港府爭取中央支持的振興措施,大多涉及經濟,諸如有關大灣區的商貿及專業服務事宜、擴大金融領域互聯互通、推動香港深圳創科合作,以及鞏固疫下本港航運中心地位,特別是涉及空運方面的問題。倘若港府向中央提出的具體振興措施,真的切實可行、到位有效,對於香港應付眼前困難,應有一定幫助。

■/ Glossary 生字 /

at the eleventh hour:at the last possible moment; just in time

substance /ˈsʌbstəns/:importance

home in on sth:​to direct your thoughts or attention towards sth

■英語社評聲檔:link.mingpao.com/53000.htm

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