The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, underlined Hong Kong's unique role in helping businesses in the United Kingdom (UK) to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities emerging from the Belt and Road Initiative at a breakfast roundtable at Chatham House in London today (May 23, London time).
"Through the Belt and Road Initiative, we expect to see soaring investments in infrastructural facilities, deepening financial integration, expanding trade and the building of people-to-people bonds on a global scale. The Belt and Road Initiative covers various aspects and proposes co-operation in many sectors, but fundamentally the Initiative is about making connections. And I am proud to say that facilitating connections is also what Hong Kong is good at. This is how we see Hong Kong will contribute to, and benefit from, the Belt and Road blueprint," Mr So said.
Citing the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) as an example, Mr So said CEPA provides preferential treatment to Hong Kong service providers, regardless of nationality, as well as tariff-free treatment for products that have been conferred the Hong Kong origin. By working with Hong Kong, UK companies can gain the same access to the markets of the Mainland.
He added that "one country, two systems" has made Hong Kong the "super-connector", bringing together the rest of China and the rest of the world, including economies along the Belt and Road. This also makes Hong Kong a magnet for business. As Hong Kong has always been a preferred venue for hosting regional headquarters or trading offices for multinational companies to manage their businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, Mr So invited more British companies to come to Hong Kong and make full use of its advantages in tapping the massive Belt and Road markets.
Yesterday (May 22, London time), Mr So met with Hong Kong students and young professionals in London to update them on the latest developments in Hong Kong, particularly in the creative industries and start-up sectors.
Before the gathering, Mr So attended a lunch meeting with representatives of the UK Chapter of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. He discussed with them the potential opportunities for Hong Kong's professional services presented by the Belt and Road Initiative.
He also paid a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and watched a training session for the 2016 London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival and talked to participants from the Hong Kong community.
Later today, Mr So will have meetings with the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr John Whittingdale, and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Mr Sajid Javid, to exchange views on matters of mutual concern. He will also meet with the UK Parliament's All Party Parliamentary China Group, and call on the Minister of the Chinese Embassy in the UK Mr Ni Jian. In the evening, Mr So will depart for Vilnius in Lithuania for the second leg of his visit.
Ends/Monday, May 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:52