Financial Secretary Paul Chan says premature speculation on tax hikes unwarranted

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Paul Chan

26th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) Financial Secretary Paul Chan sought to soothe concerns about potential tax increases on Sunday, stating that it was premature to contemplate such measures and urged citizens against unnecessary alarm. As the government strives to strike a delicate equilibrium between lessening taxpayers’ load and preserving robust public coffers, Chan emphasised the importance of maintaining calm.

Chan’s comments follow recent conjecture ignited by his blog post last week, where he noted that some members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are investigating methods to augment tax revenues without jeopardising investment and competitiveness.

In a radio programme early Sunday, the Financial Secretary dismissed the idea of imminent tax hikes as “too early”. He assured listeners that any such decisions would be made only after comprehensive consultation with the business sector and the populace at large.

Chan emphasised that there was no cause for undue apprehension regarding public finances drying up. He reminded the public that the government practices prudence in financial management and cost control when formulating the forthcoming financial budget.

Beyond the topic of taxation, Chan also underscored the government’s commitment to proactive measures aimed at bolstering land, housing supply, and transportation infrastructure, alongside amplifying development capacity.

During the APEC meeting, Chan had the opportunity to update Chinese President Xi Jinping on the social and economic climate in the city. He reported that President Xi demonstrated a deep interest in Hong Kong’s development and expressed awareness of the city’s strategies for attracting talent and investment.