Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Henry Tang tells Karina Robinson the reasons he believes are behind the resurgence of China’s Special Administrative Region.

Q To what do you ascribe Hong Kong’s economic recovery? You have upgraded your forecasts to 7.5% GDP growth in 2004.

A A combination of factors. They say timing is everything and I agree. In the first quarter of 2003, when I was Secretary of Commerce, Industry and Technology, the figures were already showing signs of recovery. Unfortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel was the headlight of an oncoming train. It was a situation where a budding recovery was ruined by one quarter of [the respiratory disease] SARS. [But in addition] the Free Trade Agreement was signed with the People’s Republic of China. [People saw that the mainland government] was prepared to put money where their mouth is. It is not just one country two systems, they also support us and help us improve our situation [for example through allowing] individual travel [for China mainlanders]. Also, Hong Kong people are particularly adaptable and resilient. I have lived in Hong Kong for the better part of my life and have seen Hong Kong come through many crises.

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