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13 building plans approved in Nov

The Buildings Department approved 13 building plans in November - two on Hong Kong Island, six in Kowloon and five in the New Territories.   Of the approved plans, eight were for apartment and apartment-commercial developments, two for commercial developments, one for factory and industrial developments, and two for community services developments.   Consent was given for works to start on 11 building projects which will provide 210,471 sq m of gross floor area for domestic use involving 2,595 units and 83,060 sq m for non-domestic use.   Additionally, the department received notification of commencement of superstructure works for nine building projects.   The department also issued 16 occupation permits - three on Hong Kong Island, five in Kowloon and eight in the New Territories.   Buildings certified for occupation have 53,034 sq m of gross floor area for domestic use involving 1,355 units and 168,627 sq m for non-domestic use.

Belt-Road joint conference held

The fourth Joint Conference on Advancing Hong Kong's Full Participation in & Contribution to the Belt & Road Initiative was held virtually today.   The meeting reviewed the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s work in promoting the city's participation in and contribution to the initiative during the past year.   It discussed how Hong Kong could continue to leverage its advantages under the principle of "one country, two systems" to tap into the opportunities brought about by the "Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic & Social Development of the People's Republic of China & the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035".   The meeting also discussed how Hong Kong could fully integrate into the overall development of the country and make the best use of the national development strategy to contribute to the nation's development while facilitating its own growth in the course of promoting the initiative.   National Development & Reform Commission Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe attended the conference.   Hong Kong SAR Government officials who took part were Financial Secretary Paul Chan, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development and Hong Kong-side Convenor of the Joint Conference Edward Yau, and representatives from various bureaus.   Mr Chan said that the country's initiative has experienced continuous organic growth and has become the world's broadest-based and largest platform for international co-operation. The 14th Five-Year Plan supports the development of Hong Kong as the Belt & Road functional platform, as well as its future development in various areas, fully demonstrating the central government's unwavering support.   Hong Kong will actively participate in the country's new dual circulation development strategy and promote Hong Kong's diversified economic developments by making the best use of the opportunities provided by the initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development.   He stressed that during the 14th Five-Year Plan, the country's economy will continue to expand steadily. Under the dual circulation development strategy, the demand from the Mainland market is expected to keep growing in the coming five years. Following this trend, the Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to support Hong Kong companies in promoting domestic sales, including assisting them in brand building and moving up in the value chain.   On the epidemic situation, Mr Chan indicated that the Hong Kong SAR Government is creating favourable conditions for the resumption of normal daily life and travel of the general public.   It is hoped that business and leisure travel with the Mainland and the international community can be resumed gradually within a short period of time so as to revive local consumption and other economic activities to the greatest possible extent, thereby paving the way for a full-fledged economic recovery.   At the meeting, Mr Yau said that the Hong Kong SAR Government will make the best use of the city’s international connections and its compliance with international practices to seize Belt & Road opportunities during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.   On economics and trade, Hong Kong will strive to expand its international ties and seek early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Efforts will be made to explore new markets and promote business matching between Hong Kong enterprises and the Economic & Trade Co-operation Zones located in member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.   In addition, it will promote high-end and high value-added development of Hong Kong's service industries, and further facilitate partnership between professionals and businesses and capture the opportunities presented by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development so as to strengthen Hong Kong's role as the gateway between the Mainland and the world.   Noting that Hong Kong is a highly externally oriented and open economy, he said that free trade is of utmost importance to the city. Against the global headwinds of protectionism, the signing and implementation of the RCEP will promote regional economic integration and provide a momentous drive to global economic recovery in the post-pandemic era.   He added that it is important for Hong Kong to accede to the RCEP at the earliest opportunity to reinforce its economic and trade relations with RCEP participating economies.   Mr Yau explained that it will not only facilitate Hong Kong enterprises' investment and development in the region, but will also promote the integration, realignment and enhancement of the regional supply chain and open up bigger and more diversified markets for local enterprises, thereby facilitating Hong Kong's long-term economic development.   Witnessed by representatives from both sides, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the commission’s Facilitating Center for Building the Belt & Road and the Belt & Road General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.   According to the MOU, the two signatories will co-operate to strengthen collaboration between Mainland and Hong Kong enterprises, including sharing relevant information and promoting project matching.

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