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Belt and Road Initiative opens vast market for HK, says official

By Zhan Qianhui | | Updated: 2017-06-27 10:31

Hong Kong's future economic growth rests on the opportunity provided by the Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong government's Commissioner for Belt and Road Yvonne Choi said, stressing the city's role as a super connector for linking mainland and the rest of the world.

"Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative represents the trend of future development and involves numerous large-scale infrastructure projects, providing a vast market for us," Choi said.

As a key link along the Belt and Road, Hong Kong should take advantage of its experiences in finance, trade, laws and logistics to collaborate with mainland companies and go out together, she said.

The Belt and Road Office was founded by outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in August last year to provide advice on policies concerning the Belt and Road cooperation. And the commissioner reports directly to the chief executive.

"Our job is to collaborate with relevant policy bureaus and help Hong Kong seize the opportunity at the open and inclusive platform proposed by President Xi Jinping," she said.

According to the commissioner, cooperation with the mainland means a lot to Hong Kong.

"As our chief executive frequently mentioned, Hong Kong and mainland shall 'combine their ships and sail out together', we've always attached great importance to our interconnectivity with mainland," Choi said, pointing out that it is also their job to set up various cooperation mechanisms with different organizations and companies in mainland.

"We hope to become a coordinator effectively connecting our local companies and talent with those in mainland," she said.

"Construction under the initiative makes increasing demand on fund-raising as many projects involve large-scale investment and some big enterprises are reluctant to invest independently for the sake of financial risks, which emphasize the necessity of collaboration and cooperation between us," Choi said.

"Hong Kong has grasped the opportunity of the nation's reform and opening-up in the 1980s and transformed its manufacture-dominant economy to the current service-dominant one. As a super connector, we've always occupied a special seat on the country's connection with the rest of the world," she said.

"And now, facing a new growth chapter under the Belt and Road Initiative, the question for us is about how to make the pie bigger and get aboard on the express with a more positive role," she added.

According to Choi, Hong Kong could use its traditional and unique advantage as an international financial center to provide professional services on fund-raising along the Belt and Road.

"We have international financial talent who are experienced on fund-raising, asset management and cross-border transactions. We are also the world's biggest off-shore renminbi center," she said.

Hong Kong could also provide legal services on contract negotiation, contract management and dispute resolution in future infrastructure investment along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Choi added.

The Belt and Road Initiative is an open and inclusive concept and involves a very large area. And it welcomes any country and region that show interest to join in, she said.

"Mainland companies have a very broad overseas network, which could provide us a great opportunity to explore markets in Central Asia, Middle East and Africa," Choi said.

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