SCED speaks on visit to Indonesia (English only)
Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, at a media session on his visit to Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia today (April 25):
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: This is a very important mission for Hong Kong, as evidenced by the Chief Executive leading the delegation together with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
The relationship between Hong Kong and Indonesia, particularly in trade and investment, is premised on three major platforms. First, Indonesia on its own is a major and important market and business partner of Hong Kong, because of its big population of over 200 million and also its economic strength. Second, it is the strategic relationship between Hong Kong and Indonesia, after the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), with Indonesia being the leader in ASEAN. The third platform is the Belt and Road Initiative, which connects Hong Kong, Indonesia and countries along the Belt and Road. Let me explain one by one.
In the first regard, Indonesia is a very big business partner with Hong Kong. Indonesia is in fact our sixth largest market for export of goods and fifth largest market for export of services among ASEAN, and our mutual trade investment is growing at a very handsome rate. So this particular market is one that Hong Kong treasures, and also is a place very important for investors from Hong Kong. In our bilateral meeting between your President and our Chief Executive, we highlighted the tremendous potential for growth of this bilateral relationship as Indonesia continues to prosper, and Hong Kong serves as the regional hub for this region, in particular, for Indonesia.
With the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN, we are seeing Hong Kong serving a greater role as a service hub, in particular for professional services, where we connect the entire ASEAN with other parts of the world. We are seeing ASEAN as a whole, already emerged as Hong Kong's second largest market as a trading entity, and we are seeing a lot of major mega infrastructural projects which require a lot of financing and professional services, from legal to insurance and also construction. So, we are happy to play that role as your chief financing officer or project co-ordinator, or as part of the partnership to bring ASEAN into the next platform.
We also talked about the Belt and Road Initiative being an international engagement policy. In the Belt and Road Initiative, there will be a lot of connectivity between governments. One of the areas which is being advocated under the Belt and Road Initiative is policy co-ordination. It requires government-to-government networking, and that's why it's important for the Hong Kong Government to reach out to establish an even closer relationship with a partner like Indonesia.
We also talked about infrastructural development, which often requires a lot of financing, and which Hong Kong is good at. Hong Kong is one of the global major financial centres. We have expertise in project financing and listing of major projects in international markets, which helps bring money or capital into these mega projects.
Let's not overlook the importance of people-to-people connections. In the meeting between your President and our Chief Executive, we talked a lot about how to connect people, from student exchanges and scholarships, to all sorts of professional exchanges, where we can have mutual exchange of experiences which are vital to connecting people and communities. So we are seeing huge opportunities here. Take this delegation as an example, we are bringing some 50 businessmen from Hong Kong and also companies, originally from Mainland China but which came to list in Hong Kong. We also bring a lot of professionals. Later on, I will introduce Ms Mabel Chan, who is our past President of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and also Mr Nicholas Ho, who is a young architect who has the experience of co-ordinating infrastructural projects in ASEAN. So, these are the people who are interested in your country. These are the people more than just traditional investors. They are also the deal makers and financiers. They are also providing professional services which might be needed as Indonesia expands and continues to prosper. That's where we are coming from.
Reporter: Do you have any other concerns other than co-ordination issues between the two governments in order to realise the investment in Indonesia?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: We are seeing the relationship between Hong Kong and Indonesia, which is one that connects between the governments. There are issues that we need to talk about, for instance, the very purpose of having the Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is to provide the legal framework and the protection that businessmen would require at both ends. So, these are important legal frameworks based on which trade, capital and people could flow more easily.
But our relationship goes beyond government to government. It's important for businessmen to connect, particularly at this time and when we are talking about major projects. For instance, I understand you are building your mass transit railway. That's an area that our governments, institutions and businessmen can talk about more. The MTR Academy of the MTR Corporation is providing opportunity for experience sharing with your professionals in building your mass transit railway.
In the meeting between our Chief Executive and your President, we also talked about experience sharing in capacity building in city management, prevention of natural disasters and promoting good governance. These are in fact areas that cover both government to government as well as government to business. Most important of all, we are seeing a huge synergy among different sectors of businesses. In the past, we were seeing Hong Kong serving the role as an investor when your country developed holiday resorts. We might be one of the early movers of building hotels. But nowadays, we are talking about mega projects ranging from railway, highway, port or digital corridor. These are the areas that Hong Kong could provide such expertise or help to connect with professional services from the wider world. That’s how Hong Kong does good in those areas.
Reporter: As you know, Indonesia covers four regions in the corridor of the Belt and Road. How do you see the prospect of these four regions?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: We are seeing Indonesia in two regards. One of course is the country as a market of its own. We also see Indonesia playing a very essential role within ASEAN, because in terms of country size and population, Indonesia is the biggest. So, any success in Indonesia would certainly pave the way for more success in this part of the region. The signing of the Free Trade Agreement actually puts Hong Kong into the ASEAN family, so to speak. We are naturally there providing the services needed. So, I would believe that we are going beyond just the individual region but also to your country, and also through your country to the region.
Reporter: There is a Hong Kong investor who has invested in a hydroelectric plant in north Kalimantan. Can you confirm that? Are there any more projects in the pipeline that Hong Kong is interested in investing in Indonesia?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: I think the purpose of bringing along a trade delegation here is in fact to connect the businessmen with the counterparts here. For projects of such a kind, the role that the Hong Kong Government plays is to provide the legal platform. The signing of the Free Trade Agreement and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is in fact the foundation. But in typical Hong Kong fashion, we leave it to the businessmen and investors to directly connect with your side. And in fact I am glad to hear of any intention or concrete deals being made in this regard. We look forward to hearing more good news. Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, April 25, 2018