Hong Kong lawmakers on Wednesday called on the Special Administrative Region's government to map out policies in its upcoming Policy Address to materialize the opportunities brought by the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Their appeal came as lawmaker Chung Kwok-pan put forward a motion on fully seizing national development opportunities to give play to Hong Kong's unique advantages.
Chung pointed out that as the core city in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong has all along been supported by the central government to enhance its competitive advantages and better integrate into the overall development of the nation.
In a bid to tie in with the nation's overall development, Chung said relevant policies to boost Hong Kong's integration into the nation shall be addressed in this year's policy address, which is slated for Oct 6.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai said that the 14th Five-Year Plan highlighted the role of Hong Kong in taking the lead in the development and the internationalization of the Greater Bay Area, which reflects the central government's faith in the city's advantages.
The SAR government attaches great importance to seize opportunities offered by the national plan and will actively promote social participation in the construction of the Greater Bay Area, Tsang said.
According to the five-year plan, Hong Kong was recognized for its status as an international financial, transportation and trade center, and a center for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.
Furthermore, Hong Kong was encouraged, for the first time, to develop as an international aviation hub, an international innovation and technology hub, a regional intellectual property trading center, and a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.
Legislator Wong Ting-kwong, who represents the import and export sector on the Legislative Council, said the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan has provided a clear path for Hong Kong, which is that attracting talents is of paramount importance in achieving the goals set out for the city.
Wong suggested the government better its talent drawing strategies as the city's high living cost has discouraged talents.
Executive Councilor and lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung expressed hopes for the SAR government to take the city to buttress its current standing as requested under the national plan and bring new impetus for the local economy.
The Greater Bay Area, contributing 12 percent of the nation's GDP, is of great potential, Lam said. He suggested setting up a quarantine-free, free pass for the business sector within the Greater Bay Area.
The Bay Area, with a market of over 80 million people, can be one of the growth engines for Hong Kong enterprises amid the pandemic, the lawmaker from business sector said.
Transport sector lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming was particularly hopeful about the international shipping and aviation hub that the national plan highlighted for Hong Kong to strengthen.
Yick urged the government to roll out more tax incentives to draw more shipping and marine-related companies to come to Hong Kong. He suggested Hong Kong team up with Zhuhai airport and take advantage of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to fortify its status as an aviation hub.