Saturday, 9 May 2015

Plea for opportunities for youths

Chief Executive CY Leung

As a regular participant of Junior Chamber International Hong Kong events, not just in the past couple of years, but in the last 30 to 40 years, I take great pleasure to be here with you this evening to celebrate together the 65th anniversary of Junior Chamber International Hong Kong, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of your parent organisation, JCI International.


Indeed I am particularly pleased to be able to be here personally this evening because last night I had to make an unscheduled trip to Beijing and I just returned a few hours ago. Indeed, I had a pretty heavy travel schedule outside of Hong Kong in the past few weeks. Just two days ago I returned from a quick turnaround trip to Boston, the United States. As you know, Hong Kong and Boston recently have this inaugural non-stop flight which takes 16 hours and I was there to celebrate the launching of this direct connection between Hong Kong and Boston and to promote Hong Kong as a super-connector between the Mainland of China and the United States, and beyond that obviously, the rest of the world.


Before that I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to attend meetings with the leaders of 10 member states of ASEAN to promote again, bilateral trade between Hong Kong and member states of ASEAN. We are pursuing negotiations with member states of ASEAN on the question of free trade agreements between Hong Kong and these member states. Again it was a quick turnaround trip. In about 24 hours, I had about six bilateral meetings with leaders of ASEAN governments; I had two speeches and I had meetings on the side and so on.


And again, before that I was in Wuhan and Shanghai, attending official meetings. I was in Nansha to witness the inauguration of the Nansha free trade zone, or should I say the free trade zones in Guangdong Province. All these overseas trips had one thing in common, there is one theme to this, and this is economic development and youth development, and the two are strictly linked together. There are three main areas of work for this present term Government: constitutional development, we want to promote constitutional development so that we can take our constitutional development forward. We need economic development so that, and this is the third area of government's work, so that we could improve living conditions for everyone in Hong Kong and we could provide better career opportunities for the young people in Hong Kong.


And so these overseas trips are about economic development. They are also about youth development. And what do we do? On the Boston trip, we had 20 Hong Kong university students with us as part of the official delegation. And this is again very much part of the same theme for this Government. It's not the first time that we included Hong Kong students on our official delegations. The first time we did it was January 2014 and there was last year when we had again about 20 students with us going to Fujian, attending official meetings.


We attach a great deal of importance to youth development in Hong Kong. We recently set up a $300 million fund and this is the Youth Development Fund. I know money cannot address all the issues and money cannot achieve all the objectives that we have in mind, and we do need help in society. And therefore, while we celebrate the 65th Anniversary of Junior Chamber International Hong Kong, I want to say two things. One is a big thank you to your organisation for the contribution that you've made to the nurturing of young leaders in Hong Kong. Your contribution has not gone unnoticed. And on behalf of the Hong Kong community, on behalf of the Hong Kong SAR Government, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your contribution so far.


The second thing I want to say is that, as I said, we need help to help the young people. The young people in Hong Kong are talented. They are dedicated, they work hard and they have all their personal dreams and they need help to realise their objectives and to materialise their dreams. It will be useful for Junior Chamber International Hong Kong and also members that are from various business organisations in Hong Kong to help young people in, for example, the following ways.


You may consider providing internship opportunities for young people so that they get some experience while they study, whether at our universities or vocational training college, so that they can get some insight into working life. You may consider, for example, inviting them to some of the seminars and conferences that you orgainsed. You may even consider bringing few of them overseas to attend your overseas seminars and conferences. These are just some examples whereby you could help youth development and Hong Kong Government would be most grateful to you in working with the Government in these directions. And if you are interested, if you are able to do this, please contact Hong Kong Government, contact either my office, or contact the office of the Secretary for Education.


So, a big congratulations again to Junior Chamber International Hong Kong and thank you for your work in the past 65 years. I know there are visitors from outside of Hong Kong this evening in the audience, and so, before I sit down, let me also extend, on behalf of the Hong Kong community, a big welcome to our visitors. And I should also say that despite the fact that the Hong Kong dollar recently has appreciated somewhat against some of your home currencies, shopping is still great value in Hong Kong. The only thing I should remind you is that you don't find Value Added Tax refund counters at the Hong Kong airport, not because we don't want to give you VAT refund as visitors, but simply because we do not charge VAT in Hong Kong so there is no need to give you a refund. Enjoy your stay in Hong Kong and have a good evening everyone. Thank you very much.


Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the Junior Chamber International Hong Kong 65th Anniversary Ball.

Otmane El Rhazi
Department of Commerce
Economic Development
Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

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