The Policy Address 2000

B. Our China Advantage

WTO - The World Goes to China

36. China will very likely join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) soon, now that the hurdles to its accession have been gradually removed. This will speed up the alignment of China's domestic market with the international market. As a result, China's inward investment, external trade and the Gross National Product will witness higher growth. With the expansion and liberalisation of the Mainland market, particularly service industries, Hong Kong will gain great advantages and opportunities for development.

37. On the other hand, with China's entry into the WTO, local businessmen will face greater challenges in competing for business in the Mainland. During the past two years, the Central Government and relevant departments of the SAR Government have maintained contacts with the local business sector to keep our businessmen informed of the procedures, scope and measures relating to the opening up of China's market in future. The business community needs to map out strategic plans to actively expand their markets and upgrade the quality of their products and services, so that they are ready to capitalise on the huge business opportunities that are within sight.

38. Following its accession to the WTO, the Mainland will have an even greater demand for professional services. Hong Kong has a wealth of high calibre professionals who should have a competitive edge in the Mainland market. The SAR Government will make every effort to keep our local professionals well informed of developments in the opening up of the China market.

39. To keep up with the latest local and external economic developments, the Education and Manpower Bureau has conducted two studies, one on the employment opportunities and the other on the training needs in various trades over the next five years. Based on the findings, the Government will devise appropriate training plans to tie in with the trend of demand for various occupational groups. The Government will also review its policy on approving visa applications from professionals, and make proactive but prudent efforts to admit from the Mainland and abroad more professionals not readily available in Hong Kong to meet our immediate needs. The recruitment of such people will provide an impetus to our economic growth, thereby creating more job opportunities for local workers.

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