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HK to 'play a vital role' in regional cooperation

By ZHANG TIANYUAN in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-18 09:21
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Pedestrians take pictures at the promenade beside the Victoria Harbour in the Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong. [Photo/IC]

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will continue to play a pivotal role as a bridge between the Chinese mainland and overseas markets to boost regional economic cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries, officials and business leaders said at the Hong Kong Summit 2022 on Wednesday.

Themed "Emerging Opportunities in a New Paradigm of Regional Cooperation", the event was co-organized by the Hong Kong-based Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said it has been more than three decades since the city joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in 1991. "We now closely work with APEC partners to boost regional economic cooperation and build a more resilient economy to cope with the pandemic," he said in a keynote speech.

Hong Kong is uniquely positioned to benefit APEC economies, strengthened by its connections to the mainland market and national development strategies, particularly the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

"Hong Kong can help economies worldwide take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative to build on infrastructure development, as well as people-to-people ties, connectivity and cooperation," he said.

The Asian financial hub will continue to be a pivotal Belt and Road partner, providing unique services to realize long-term growth and prosperity throughout the region and beyond. This includes project financing, professional services support, economic and trade cooperation, innovation, technology capacity building and cultural exchange, he said.

In the face of the challenges of pandemic restrictions, Lee stressed the importance of maintaining Hong Kong's international connectivity. The government recently made alterations to its quarantine regulations, introducing a "3+4" formula-three days of mandatory hotel quarantine plus four days of medical surveillance at home-which he said was welcomed by the business sector.

Lee said he will attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok in November. "I want to reassure our partners in person of Hong Kong's firm commitment to regional cooperation," he added.

Jin Liqun, president and chairman of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, is upbeat about Hong Kong's long-term growth, saying that as the largest offshore renminbi center, the city provides a full range of banking services, and also has a large pool of financial, legal, accounting and other professionals.

Regional cooperation is vital to confronting global value chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions, he said. "We should understand that regional and global value chains remain critical to our standard of living. Overreacting by each country trying to do everything on their own is risky," Jin warned.

Algernon Yau Ying-wah, secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the HKSAR, said an increasing number of economic opportunities have arisen for Hong Kong even during the pandemic, thanks to the signing of free trade agreements.

"The position of Hong Kong is unique, very important locally and for the motherland, and for our partners in the region," he said.

Pundits from Hong Kong's technology, trade and financial sectors, along with trade representatives from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan, also delivered speeches during the summit.

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