Speech by CE at Belt and Road Summit (English only) (with photo)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the Belt and Road Summit this morning (May 18):

Chairman Zhang (Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Mr Zhang Dejiang), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Welcome to the inaugural Belt and Road Summit.

     We are honoured by the presence of our keynote speaker, Mr Zhang Dejiang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. We greatly appreciate the Central Authorities' support for Hong Kong's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. We are also privileged to welcome eminent speakers and participants from all over the world.

     The Belt and Road Initiative spans more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. It aims to strengthen co-operation on policy, economic and cultural fronts, and to foster mutually rewarding progress among Belt and Road countries.

     The Initiative offers unprecedented opportunities to all territories, Hong Kong included. With the combined advantages of "one country" and "two systems", Hong Kong can serve as a "super-connector" between the Mainland of China and the rest of the world. In areas such as finance, investment, professional services, trade, logistics, culture, creativity, innovation and technology, Hong Kong's unique "super-connector" role can bring together the strengths of Belt and Road economies. The National 13th Five-Year Plan of China clearly supports Hong Kong and Macau leveraging our unique advantages to enhance our roles and functions in the country's economic development and opening up to other countries, including the Belt and Road Initiative.

     Let me take this opportunity to briefly outline the areas where Hong Kong can, given the support of the Central Authorities of China, contribute to co-operation among Belt and Road economies.

     As China's international financial centre and the world's China financial capital, Hong Kong is well positioned to meet the growing demand for financial services, including offshore Renminbi services, in Belt and Road regions. For infrastructure projects, Hong Kong can provide capital, financial channels, asset management, insurance and re-insurance services, contract management, dispute resolution, legal and other professional services. Our endeavour to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a non-sovereign territory will further enhance Hong Kong's role in the financing of Belt and Road infrastructure projects. With first-rate telecommunications, Hong Kong can provide information services to Mainland Chinese enterprises wishing to expand business overseas.

     Hong Kong's professional services are world-class. Our professionals in accounting, legal, dispute resolution, risk assessment, engineering, consulting, project management and many other services are highly regarded for their professional ethics, competence and global outlook. Entering a new business environment, investing in large projects, avoiding and resolving commercial disputes, handling negotiations, establishing business models or dealing with property rights and investment protection íV you will find that our Hong Kong professionals are ideal service providers for enterprises from both China and Belt and Road regions.

     We are also known for our strengths in transportation and logistic services, and are well placed to develop high-end maritime services and tourism. Trade and investment ties with Belt and Road countries are fast expanding. The Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) Government is actively working with our trading partners to conclude free trade agreements, investment promotion and protection agreements, and avoidance of double taxation agreements. We propose partnering with Mainland Chinese enterprises, especially those from neighbouring provinces and regions, to establish and grow trade and commercial relations with Belt and Road countries.

     Beyond economic relations, Hong Kong looks forward to developing broader and closer people-to-people bonds along the Belt and Road.  Our world-class universities, together with the use of English as a teaching language, are a big draw for overseas students. We welcome and encourage cultural exchanges and interaction between our young people through scholarships and exchange programmes.

     Hong Kong is also home to a large number of community organisations such as trade associations, youth groups, think tanks and other non-government organisations. We also have strong links to overseas Chinese communities. Apart from government-to-government exchanges, we will encourage such organisations in Hong Kong to reach out to Belt and Road counterparts through visits, promotional events, seminars and forums.

     The Belt and Road Initiative is a vast project íV in scope, scale and diversity. As such, the Hong Kong SAR Government is setting up a dedicated Belt and Road office to push forward our plans. We will work closely with the Central Authorities of China and our Belt and Road partners to ensure effective co-ordination of policies and measures, to identify areas of collaboration, and to facilitate timely exchange of information for our common good.

     Chairman Zhang, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your support.  I trust you will find the Summit informative and rewarding, and I wish all our visitors an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.

     Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Issued at HKT 10:21