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China Daily Global / 2022-08 / 18 / Page003

Hong Kong to 'play a vital role'in boosting regional cooperation

By ZHANG TIANYUAN in Hong Kong | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-08-18 00:00

City to provide unique services to realize long-term growth and prosperity throughout the area

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will continue to play a pivotal role as the 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.

The event, on the theme of "Emerging Opportunities in a New Paradigm of Regional Cooperation", 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 the keynote speech.

Hong Kong is uniquely positioned to benefit APEC's member economies, backed by the city's connections to the mainland's 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 and people-to-people ties on 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 providing project financing, professional services support, economic and trade cooperation, innovation, technology capacity building and cultural exchanges, he said.

Lee stressed the importance of maintaining Hong Kong's international connectivity amid the challenges caused by pandemic restrictions. The government recently lifted its quarantine rule with a"3+4" formula-three days of mandatory hotel quarantine plus four days of medical surveillance at home-which 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 offers a large pool of financial, legal accounting and other professional services.

Regional cooperation is vital when confronting global value chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions, Jin 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," he 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.

It is significant for Hong Kong to become a facilitator to invite overseas businesses to the mainland or bring mainland companies to the international market, he said, "The position of Hong Kong is very unique, very important locally and for the motherland, and for our partners in the region."

Representatives of 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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