By Li Yan
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor said she has sought the central government's help in finding new growth engines and fortifying existing advantages to revive the special administrative region's battered economy.
Support has been sought mainly in four areas－financial services, innovation, and technology, the aviation sector, and projects to improve people's livelihoods, Lam said in a newspaper interview days before she is expected to visit Beijing to present her proposals to the central authorities.
The new policy initiatives are also expected to be the highlight of her annual policy address this year. Originally scheduled to deliver the address on Oct 14, Lam postponed it last week and now intends to deliver it by the end of November.
Speaking to the newspapers Wen Wei Po and Hong Kong Commercial Daily, Lam revealed she proposed to the central government the expansion of mutual access to financial markets between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong to boost the city's status as an international financial center.
Greater and deeper mutual access will also be beneficial to Hong Kong's offshore renminbi business, she said.
Propelling innovation and technology has been on Lam's agenda since she took office in 2017. It dovetails with her proposal to the central government, seeking support to join hands with Shenzhen in building a world-class innovation and technology hub.
Noting that Hong Kong should not just focus on itself, Lam said she thinks the cooperation between the two cities will definitely produce the effect that "one plus one is greater than two".
Lam also revealed that she is in talks with Shenzhen on a joint program to attract top scientists, especially those who plan to return from the United States.
The SAR government is considering attracting overseas scholars by providing more teaching posts and resources such as lab facilities, and allowing them to come back with their research and research teams, she explained. More details will be unveiled later, she added.
Also on her list are requests for support for Hong Kong's pandemic-hit aviation sector and Hong Kong International Airport.
The reopening of border checkpoints with the mainland is also on the list of Lam's proposals, as the pandemic has forced their closure for about nine months and this situation is not expected to change as Hong Kong continues to report new cases of coronavirus infection.
Lam said that Hong Kong residents currently need a more confident government and a clearer blueprint regarding the city's future. Residents will be more confident about the city if more detailed measures backed by Beijing can be included in her next policy address, she added.