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HK poised to capitalize on initiative

By Xi Tianqi and William Xu in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-20 09:25
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This photo taken by a drone shows vehicles running on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge on July 11, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Thursday that the eight major steps proposed by President Xi Jinping to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation will bring abundant development opportunities for the city. He pledged to fully participate in the initiative and move toward a more fruitful coming decade.

Meeting reporters in Beijing at the end of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Lee highlighted the special administrative region's renowned international financial and professional services, emphasizing the city's potential to contribute significantly to both flagship and community-based projects of the Belt and Road Initiative. These services encompass investment, financing, insurance, construction, engineering, design, accounting, law and consulting.

He noted that the areas covered by the eight steps are precisely where Hong Kong holds a competitive edge. Under the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the city was positioned to develop into an international or regional center in eight areas. The four new positions in aviation, innovation technology, intellectual property trade, and cultural and art exchanges, are key areas mentioned in the eight steps.

A total of 70 Hong Kong senior officials and representatives from various sectors, led by Lee, arrived in Beijing on Monday to attend the Belt and Road forum. It was the largest-ever delegation the city has sent to participate in the event.

During the CEO Conference held on Tuesday, three projects involving Hong Kong enterprises, totaling $450 million, were signed. These projects spanned medical technology, innovation and technology, and investment cooperation.

Lee expressed his pleasure in reconnecting with familiar faces and establishing new acquaintances during the summit. He noted their recognition of Hong Kong's proactive role in the BRI, further solidifying the consensus on deepening cooperation.

Lee said the members of the Hong Kong delegation eloquently conveyed the city's unique strengths and opportunities to the forum's more than 4,000 guests from over 140 countries and regions.

They participated in all 10 of the forum's activities, especially a thematic forum of sub-national cooperation held on Wednesday afternoon, in which a dedicated chapter was set for Hong Kong to introduce its multifaceted advantages.

Six Hong Kong delegates took to the stage at the designated session, including Secretary for Justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok, veteran entrepreneur and member of the Chief Executive's Council of Advisers Allan Zeman, and the SAR's Commissioner for the Belt and Road Nicholas Ho Lik-chi.

In a recent interview with China Daily, Ho — a veteran architect who took up his new post last month — said Hong Kong is poised to reap the benefits of the BRI after a decade of development that has seen numerous mega-infrastructure projects completed and regional connectivity improved.

Ho said the connectivity formed by BRI projects, whether in physical or digital form, will cut the cost of doing business, and inject impetus into the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

"We've seen many projects entering service recently, linked up with different regions," Ho said. The development history of both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland shows that once these projects go into operation, business opportunities abound.

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