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HK still world’s freest economy; global financial center stands firm

作者:admin 2020-09-14

HK still world’s freest economy; global financial center stands firm

A view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

Business leaders and experts in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland have applauded the Fraser Institute's designation of Hong Kong as the world's freest economy, while stressing that the national security law for Hong Kong will only guarantee the city's free trade and investment, and cement its position as a global financial center rather than weaken it.

The Canada-based research and education organization has ranked Hong Kong the freest economy since the inception about 30 years ago of its annual Economic Freedom of the World report. Among the latest report's five areas of assessment, Hong Kong ranks first in "freedom to trade internationally" and "regulation."

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government welcomed the ranking but firmly refuted the institute's forecast of possible lower future scores in the areas of the legal system and property rights, which it said contained "biased comments and unfair speculation, based on selective ungrounded views."

The HKSAR government reiterated that safeguarding national security through legislation is in line with international practice, while expressing its commitment to building a free economy with a level playing field.

"It's a false view that without the national security law for Hong Kong, the city's free market principles will be maintained or improved, especially against the backdrop of long-lasting social unrest," said Liu Guohong, director of the Shenzhen-based Department of Finance and Modern Industries at the China Development Institute. "The law is essential to solve the social problems in Hong Kong."

However, Liu said that there is no need to pay too much attention to such rankings, saying that what's more important is ensuring the full and resolute implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle to ensure the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

Noel Shih, chairman of the Young Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Sunday that a growing number of foreign companies have sent their employees to Hong Kong after Hong Kong became safer with the enactment of the national security law.

He said that Hong Kong's free market principles are not harmed at all. "Otherwise, there won't be more large companies rushing to get listed in Hong Kong lately — for example, bottled water brand NongFu Spring and fast food restaurant chain Yum China."

With a coronavirus resurgence gradually being gradually put under control, Hong Kong's economic activity is picking up, injecting confidence in the global financial center.

Shih said that more people are coming out to shop. "It's hard to find parking spaces in shopping centers in Tsim Sha Tsui during weekend."

Timothy Chui Ting-pong, director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Sunday that the epidemic-battered tourism sector in Hong Kong hasn't seen much improvement yet. 

"I hope Hong Kong's health code can be released as soon as possible to boost the movements of people and reopen to the Chinese mainland, Macao, and foreign countries and regions that contribute around 30 percent of the city's consumption," he said.

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