HC Deb 29 November 1995 vol 267 cc1196-8
20. Mr. Soley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the progress being made in negotiations with China on Hong Kong. [874]

Mr. Hanley

We have reached several important agreements with the Chinese in recent months which are very much in Hong Kong's interest, but much work remains to be done to ensure a successful transition for Hong Kong, which I believe all of us, including the Chinese, want.

Mr. Soley

Is the Minister satisfied that the Chinese Government and the leaders of the business community on both sides of the border recognise that, if the elected legislature were removed in 1997 and replaced only with members who had the approval of Beijing, enormous damage would be done to political and economic confidence in Hong Kong?

Mr. Hanley

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is vital to maintain confidence in Hong Kong. Members of the business community have impressed on me the fact that confidence is vital for their continued interests.

We are doing everything that we can to ensure that the business community feels comfortable with what we are doing. Indeed, the business community welcomes the continuing agreements that we are making with the Chinese. The Chinese, for their part, recognise that Hong Kong is responsible for about 25 per cent. of their gross domestic product. Hong Kong and the business links between the two countries are important to China as well as to our continuing interest in the region.

I therefore agree with the hon. Gentleman.

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