CE attends World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland (with photos/videos)

     The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, leading a Hong Kong delegation, arrived in Davos, Switzerland at noon today (January 21, Davos time) to start her three-day visit to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. She attended a WEF session with an address by the Vice Premier of the State Council, Mr Han Zheng, and met with the Prime Minister of Singapore and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg to brief them on the latest situation in Hong Kong.
     Mrs Lam, accompanied by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, met the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Mr Xavier Bettel, separately in the afternoon. She said Hong Kong experienced an unprecedented challenge last year, but with its solid foundation, she expressed confidence that the city is capable of overcoming the current difficulties. She emphasised that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has all along been adhering to three principles in handling the social unrest, namely upholding the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the Basic Law, respecting and safeguarding the rule of law and protecting Hong Kong's institutional strengths.
     Noting in her meeting with Mr Lee that the parts relating to several member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Singapore, under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN entered into force in June last year, Mrs Lam expressed her gratitude to the Government of Singapore for its long-standing support for the signing of the FTA. She said she hopes that, after the 10 member states of ASEAN and the six partners that had signed an FTA with ASEAN have completed their negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Hong Kong can start negotiation with Singapore on accession to the RCEP.
     In the meeting with Mr Bettel, Mrs Lam said she was pleased to meet him again following their previous meeting in Davos last year and noted that Luxembourg signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative with China in March last year. She invited representatives of enterprises in Luxembourg to join the fifth Belt and Road Summit scheduled to be held in Hong Kong in September this year to explore new business opportunities for various sectors with political and business leaders from Hong Kong as well as other countries and regions. To further explore co-operation in the financial area between the two places, Mrs Lam also invited Mr Bettel to consider attending the 14th Asian Financial Forum next year.
     Invited to attend the WEF session "Expanding Asia's Technology Leadership" at noon, Mrs Lam, one of the discussion leaders, pointed out that Asia is emerging as an important region for innovation and technology (I&T) with a number of top I&T enterprises and universities in the region. Asia's large population has created high demand for innovative products, which has offered great business opportunities for I&T companies. She said that five universities in Hong Kong are ranked in the global top 100, providing Hong Kong with a large pool of research talent and great potential in I&T development. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong can also provide plenty of capital for I&T development. She said that to promote further development, about $100 billion has been allocated by the current-term Government for I&T, including the establishment of two world-class research clusters specialising in healthcare technologies and artificial intelligence and robotics technologies at the Hong Kong Science Park, with a view to building Hong Kong as an international I&T centre, playing an important role in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
     In the afternoon, Mrs Lam met with the Vice Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), Mr Fang Xinghai. She expressed her gratitude to the Central People's Government and the CSRC for their support for the development of Hong Kong as an international financial centre and a global offshore Renminbi (RMB) business hub. She said that, despite the social unrest in the past seven months, Hong Kong's financial sector has remained stable and gained good progress in securities and bond markets. She said that as the country continues to promote the opening up of the financial industry and more RMB assets are included in major international indexes, Hong Kong's capital market will be able to play a bigger role and make further contributions.
     During the day, Mrs Lam also gave interviews to two international media organisations separately. In the evening, she attended a dinner hosted by the Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF, Professor Klaus Schwab, for guests attending the Annual Meeting from around the world.
     Mrs Lam will continue her visit to Davos tomorrow (January 22, Davos time).

Ends/Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Issued at HKT 6:37