“Conference on The Future of Hong Kong Economy” Pools Collective Wisdom to Overcome Economic Fallouts and Restore Competitiveness of Hong Kong
Nobel Laureate in Economics Sciences Professor Paul Romer suggested a reexamination to the relationship between “Market” and “Government”
Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary encouraged to fully unleash Hong Kong’s growth potential and turn opportunities into real social and economic benefits
With the fourth wave of COVID-19 subsides and the availability of vaccines, the economy of Hong Kong is expected to rebound in the second half of 2021. It is time for Hong Kong to search for a way out to the current economic dilemma and rethink its future development and positioning. Jointly organised by HKU Business School and Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy (HIEBS), the ‘Thought Leadership Conference Series: The Future of Hong Kong Economy’ was held today and has addressed a broad range of critical issues relating to economic development and government policies in Hong Kong, aiming to facilitate the discussion on rejuvenating the economy and make an impact to the society.
Professor Paul Romer, 2018 Nobel Laureate in Economics Sciences and University Professor in Economics at New York University, Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and more than 20 experts and outstanding leaders in the private and public sectors were invited to the conference to explore approaches on how to restore the local economy against the backdrop of global recession. 5 key topics surrounding the latest local issues were discussed, including ‘Restructuring of Hong Kong Economy’, ‘Land and Housing Reforms’, ‘Government Reforms and Market Development’, ‘Ageing, Population and Poverty’ and ‘Education, Inequality and Social Mobility’.
Professor Richard Wong, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong, Chair of Economics & Philip Wong Kennedy Wong Professor in Political Economy, and Director of Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy illustrated the current economic challenges of Hong Kong in his welcoming speech and said, ‘With the hardest hit of the pandemic, it is perhaps time for the Government to take bold steps and initiate innovative policy reform. Today’s conference aims to bring together scholars, policy makers, business and community leaders to discuss important policy issues and exchange ideas about reviving the Hong Kong economy.’
‘The pandemic is reinforcing a quiet reconsideration of the relationship between the market and the government’, Professor Paul Romer, 2018 Nobel Laureate in Economics Sciences and University Professor in Economics at New York University shared his insights from a global economic perspective during the conference. He foresaw that big government is staging a dramatic comeback, ‘The pandemic has dramatically reinforced the essential role of the government. There is no “market solution” to the problem of public health because the “externalities” or “spillovers” caused by individual actions are pervasive and dangerous. Every successful response to the pandemic relied on the action by a government, be it a measure designed to limit the spread of the virus or one that has protected individuals from the economic consequences of the pandemic or one that is speeding up the return to full employment.’
The Honourable Paul Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, were also invited to deliver a keynote speech. He said, ‘While the 14th Five-Year Plan presents great opportunities for Hong Kong, some of the mega trends from geopolitical tensions to climate change and the pandemic pose huge challenges. It is important to recognise and tackle the key constraints, which impede the economic development and competitiveness of Hong Kong, including land supply and talent pool. Only by addressing these constraints, could we fully unleash our growth potential and turn opportunities into real social and economic benefits for Hong Kong.’
Professor Hongbin Cai, Dean of HKU Business School concluded the achievement of the conference, ‘HKU Business School thrives to leverage our academic expertise into practice and contribute to the society. Earlier this year, we have launched the Green Paper on Hong Kong’s Economic Policy, with an intention to offer recommendations on policy reform from a new perspective. To further encourage the discussion, we have organised today’s conference under the “Thought Leadership Conference Series”. Through candid sharing by the greatest minds in the community, we hope this annual economy policy exchange platform could become one of the driving forces to the Hong Kong’s sustainable development. I believe that the thought-provoking and impactful views expressed today can be further disseminated to a wider spectrum of recipients through continued dialogue and conversation with different stakeholders.’