Two key political parties have given a lukewarm response to a proposed cross-party conference to find ways to boost the economy. Legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier, who came up with the suggestion, said yesterday that calling a meeting would be more effective than Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung's Beijing trip. Mr Leung is on a two-day visit to discuss ways of easing visa restrictions for mainlanders in an attempt to boost the local tourism industry. In June 1998, seven political parties and the Breakfast Group - a group of non-affiliated legislators - joined together to make six suggestions to the Government on job creation and ways of stimulating the economy following the Asian financial crisis. They included the Democratic Party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), the Citizens Party, the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance and the Liberal Party. But both the Democrats and the DAB said yesterday they had no intention of calling for a similar coalition. Chan Kam-lam, of the DAB, said such a gathering was unnecessary as people felt more secure now than they did in 1998. Democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan said it would be meaningless to call a roundtable meeting if it was impossible for political parties to form a consensus. Lee Wing-tat, deputy chairman of the Democrats, said they had not considered a roundtable meeting, but the idea would be raised at a party meeting tomorrow. Ms Lau conceded yesterday that it would be hard to form a coalition again as the political situation had changed. But she said the economic situation was much more serious than in 1998, and that Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa should consult legislators on their opinions. Meanwhile, Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun warned that the economy might worsen as more companies moved their operations to southern China.