BUSINESS Summit '95 will surprise those weary of seminars that are high on theory and low on practical advice. 'It is not precisely what it seems to be; it is not just another seminar,' said Ian Perkin, the chief economist and assistant director of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. Unlike other seminars that import overseas 'experts' to wax lyrical on the future of China and Hong Kong, Mr Perkin said this event would be unusual. 'It is not one of those seminars so academic that it bores all but the most dedicated generalist to the nearest coffee bar,' the former business editor with the South China Morning Post said. 'Business Summit '95, co-sponsored by the HKGCC and the South China Morning Post, aims to provide members of the chamber and local business people with an accurate review of the year, a preview of the coming year and addresses by prominent people on topics of interest to the business community.' It would offer direct accessibility to the thoughts of local business and political leaders through panel discussions, he said. 'Each member of the panel will provide insight into their particular sector of the economy, their industry and/or profession or service. This will make the summit the most unique and broad-ranging in Hong Kong this year.' Mr Perkin will participate in the panel discussion by giving an economic review of this year and his forecast for 1996. Paul Selway-Swift, executive director of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation), will discuss the financial sector; Walter Kwok, chairman and chief executive of Sun Hung Kai Properties, the property sector; Victor Lo, chairman of Gold Peak Industries, the manufacturing sector; Rodney Miles, chairman of the Retail Management Association, the retail sector; and Peter Sutch, chairman of John Swire and Sons, the transportation sector. Panellists will also include Paul Cheng, the Legco representative of the HKGCC and chairman of Inchcape Pacific; Robert Savage, general manager of Government and Education Industries, IBM Asia Pacific; James Tien, chairman and managing director of Manhattan Garments [International]; Brian Stevenson, senior partner, Ernst and Young; Denis Lee, managing director of Kingscore Industrial; and Ray Bashford, business editor of the South China Morning Post. Mr Perkin said this year's summit was vital due to the current debate over the health of the economy, where it was headed and the outlook for China and the effect it would have on the territory. 'The seminar comes at a time when economic growth is allegedly slowing,' he said. 'It is not as bad as some would have the general public believe. The Government has lowered its expected rate of growth from 5.5 per cent average for the whole year to five per cent,' Mr Perkin said. 'This is hardly dramatic and, in any case, the Government is probably being overly cautious. Growth for the full year will probably be a little above five per cent.' The issue of unemployment will play a major part in seminar discussions. There are reportedly 110,000 people out of work, representing 3.5 per cent of the workforce. In a paper released by the chamber reviewing 1995 and offering forecasts for 1996, it said that, despite the unemployment, the number of people employed in Hong Kong was at an all-time high. 'The source of unemployment is the combination of a slower growth rate with a substantial increase in the available workforce due to faster population growth,' Mr Perkin said.