FS joins online APEC session

Financial Secretary Paul Chan today took part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Finance Ministers' Meeting 2021, which was convened online.   Participating ministers exchanged views on the use of fiscal policy and budget management to address ongoing challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic for a sustainable and inclusive recovery.   Mr Chan spoke on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's fiscal strategies for addressing the pandemic and the opportunities and challenges presented by the pandemic for the global economy. Sharing Hong Kong's experience, he underlined the importance of timely expansionary fiscal policy coupled with effective anti-epidemic measures.   “Hong Kong's real gross domestic product rebounded strongly by 7.8% year on year in the first half of 2021, and the unemployment rate fell significantly from the peak of 7.2% to 4.5% in recent months. With the local epidemic situation under control in the past few months, we are now adopting measures to promote steady economic recovery.   “In line with the goal of relaunching the economy, we have implemented an electronic consumption voucher scheme, giving each eligible Hong Kong resident electronic consumption vouchers of about US$650 for local spending.”   Noting the voucher scheme has markedly improved local consumption sentiment and stimulated the economic recovery, Mr Chan said he is optimistic that Hong Kong's economy will remain on track for recovery.   The Financial Secretary also said Hong Kong strives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through increasing investment in green projects.   “We will issue green bonds totalling around US$23 billion to support the implementation of green projects in the coming five years,” he added.   The session concluded with a statement in which finance ministers reaffirmed their commitment to adopt fiscal and budget policy to tackle long-standing challenges, encourage digital transformation, and continue multilateral co-operation in supporting strong and balanced recovery.
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