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Editorial : HK's challenge in the new layout of reform and opening-up

【明報專訊】AT the first China International Import Expo held in Shanghai, President Xi Jinping has announced multiple initiatives aimed at the further opening of China's economy. Over the course of forty years' reform and opening-up, China began by catching up with the economic globalisation, but now it has reached the point of striving for the reshaping of the direction of globalisation. The expo is a manifestation of such a transition and the role played by Hong Kong in the mainland's further reform and opening-up is to be adjusted. Xi has voiced his support for building Shanghai into an international financial centre as well as a hub of innovation and technology. With the purpose of improving the overall layout of China's reform and opening-up, he has also elevated the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region to the national strategic level, saying the region will develop in tandem with other national plans like the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative. With all the new challenges of competition ahead, Hong Kong should have a sense of urgency and cannot afford to play for time anymore. Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has expressed the hope that Hong Kong will become the Silicon Valley of Asia. For that to come true, the government has to make still more haste and do more real work.

The western logic underlying globalisation over the past century is in essence the law of the jungle multiplied with the winner-takes-all principle, which has made the West benefit most during the process. By comparison, China has advocated a form of globalisation that embraces more the spirit of inclusiveness and mutual benefit, and less the imbalance of global development. In substance, the Belt and Road Initiative is the strategy driven by China towards this end. Changing the logic behind globalisation requires not only determination but also strength. Time is needed to see whether China can realise its goal, but in the eyes of Beijing, the drive for further reform and opening-up in the new era is already equivalent to the campaign for the sinicisation of globalisation. This mindset is in fact well reflected by Xi's opening speech at the Import Expo, in which he stressed that the expo represented an important decision made by China to pursue a new round of high-level opening-up, and concrete action by China to advance an open world economy and support economic globalisation.

Xi has mentioned initiatives in several aspects to broaden the opening-up of China, like stimulating the potential for increased imports, continuing to widen market access and steadily increasing the openness of the financial sector. It is anticipated that concrete measures will be successively unveiled in the corresponding fields. A noteworthy point is that Xi specifically talked about plans to better capitalise on the important function of Shanghai and other areas in China's opening-up. For example, the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone will be expanded to include a new section. A science and technology innovation board will also be launched at the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Furthermore, the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region has been raised to the level of national strategy. The region will develop in tandem with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development area, the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and will help improve the overall layout of China's reform and opening-up.

Hong Kong enterprises have played a key role in the first 40 years of China's reform and opening-up. The city has also become an international financial centre because of the opportunity posed by the mainland's reform and opening-up. However, times have changed. As the reform and opening-up of the mainland moves on to a new stage and China strives for a leading role in globalisation, Hong Kong should also think about its future path in accordance with the latest circumstances. Now that Xi has made the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region a national strategy on a par with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, it reflects the central government's willingness to see both mutual complementation and competition between the two regions. On the one hand, Hong Kong has to compete with Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the Greater Bay Area and secure its leading position. On the other hand, the three cities also have to join forces to compete with the Yangtze River Delta region for a leading position in national economy.

明報社評2018.11.07:國家改革開放迎新局 港成亞洲矽谷非必然

上海舉行首屆中國國際進口博覽會,國家主席習近平提出多項措施,擴大對外開放。內地改革開放40年,由趕上經濟全球化,到現在力爭重塑全球化方向,進博會體現了這一轉折,香港在內地改革開放過程中的角色亦面臨調整。習近平支持上海國際金融中心和科技創新中心建設,提出完善中國改革開放空間佈局,將長三角區域一體化上升為國家戰略,與粵港澳大灣區、一帶一路建設等相互配合,香港將迎來新的競爭挑戰,需要有緊迫感,不能再歎慢板。行政長官林鄭月娥希望香港可成為亞洲矽谷,還須加快步伐多做實事。

過去百年西方的全球化邏輯,本質是弱肉強食贏者通吃,西方是最大得益者;相比之下,中方主張全球化要更加包容普惠和互利共贏,減少全球發展不平衡,一帶一路是中方推動這一方向的具體策略。改變全球化邏輯,需要決心,更需實力,中方能否說到做到,還待驗證,不過在北京眼中,推動新時代改革開放,跟推動全球化的中國化,已是二而為一。習近平在進博會致辭強調,舉辦進博會是中國放眼新一輪高水平對外開放的重大決策,亦是建設開放型世界經濟、支持經濟全球化的實際行動,正好說明了北京這一想法。

習近平提出多項擴大開放措施,激發進口潛力,持續放寬市場准入,穩步推進金融業服務業等領域開放,外界相信具體措施將陸續出台。值得留意的是,習近平特別提到要更好發揮上海等地對外開放作用,除了增設上海自由貿易試驗區的新片區、在上海證交所設立科創板,還將長三角區域一體化上升為國家戰略,與一帶一路、京津冀協同發展、長江經濟帶發展、粵港澳大灣區建設相互配合,完善中國改革開放空間佈局。

改革開放首40年,港商在內地發展扮演關鍵角色,香港也因為把握了內地改革開放機遇,成為國際金融中心。時移世易,內地改革開放踏上新台階,力爭引領全球化,香港也要因應新形勢,思考未來進路。習近平將長三角一體化與粵港澳大灣區並列為國家戰略,反映中央樂見兩地既互補亦競爭。香港要在大灣區內跟深圳和廣州競爭,穩住龍頭位置,與此同時,三市又要攜手,與長三角爭當國家經濟領頭羊。

■Glossary

play for time : to try to gain more time for oneself, esp. to postpone an action or decision.

capitalise on sth : to gain a further advantage for yourself from a situation

join forces : to combine efforts

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