Belt and Road Summit attracts over 3,000 participants
The Belt and Road Summit, co-organised by the HKSAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, was held today (September 11), attracting more than 3,000 political leaders, policymakers, business leaders and experts in related trades from all over the world.
Delivering a keynote speech at the Summit themed "From Vision to Action", the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, said that behind the infrastructure investment in the Belt and Road Initiative, a variety of services are required to turn plans into vivid reality: investment and risk assessment, research, financing, insurance, accounting, legal services and arbitration, etc.
"Today, these service sectors represent new economic drivers for Hong Kong and are essential to the Belt and Road vision," Mrs Lam said.
She also pointed out that as an international metropolis and China's best-connected city, Hong Kong can, and will, make immense contributions to the Belt and Road across all the five areas of connectivity, namely policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds.
"The Initiative will have a significant impact, not only for China and Asia, but also for countries along the Belt and Road routes and beyond," Mrs Lam said.
Noting that ASEAN is strategically located on the Belt and Road routes, and the region's emerging economies are seen as future drivers of the regional and global economy, she said the Hong Kong-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement which had been successfully concluded recently would further enhance flows of trade and investment between Hong Kong and ASEAN, at a key intersection for the Belt and Road.
The Summit also featured three other keynote speakers from the Mainland who addressed the audience on behalf of their respective ministries: the Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Mr Ning Jizhe; the Vice Minister of Commerce, Ms Gao Yan; and the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr Xie Feng. They expressed strong support for Hong Kong’s full participation in the Initiative.
The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, delivered a speech at the keynote luncheon. "Hong Kong is the natural premier services and capital hub for the Belt and Road and its far-reaching mission. That is particularly true for infrastructure financing and financial connectivity, both of which lie at the forefront of the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.
Mr Chan added that the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, of which the study of the development plan was announced in March by Premier Li Keqiang, will accelerate the flow of people, goods, capital and information across the region, presenting enormous business opportunities for Hong Kong and overseas businesses.
Also speaking at the Summit, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said that an agreement between Hong Kong and the National Development and Reform Commission is expected to be signed before end of the year to give the business community a better grasp of the Initiative.
"The agreement would give a very detailed description of areas that Hong Kong is good at, and areas that we believe that Hong Kong can serve the Belt and Road Initiative not just for the country, but also for partners that will be collaborating with the Mainland," Mr Yau said.
Mr Yau hoped that the Summit will become an annual business forum that augments the high-level Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing biannually, and the business forum for both government-to-business and business-to-business connections.
The one-day Summit features four keynote speeches, a keynote luncheon, a series of panel sessions and concurrent investment and business matching sessions, as well as investment project presentations and networking sessions, with the latter focusing on transport and logistics infrastructure; energy, natural resources and public utilities; and urban development. The Secretary for Justice, Mr Rimsky Yuen, SC, also spoke at the panel session on "Using Hong Kong as a Platform for Infrastructure Dispute Resolution".
Ends/Monday, September 11, 2017