SFST's speech at Belgium's King's Day Reception (English only)
Consul General (Consul General of Belgium in Hong Kong, Mr David Lomastro), ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. My thanks to the Consul General for the invitation.
I'm delighted to join your celebration of the Kingdom of Belgium's King's Day, and in honour of His Majesty King Philippe.
As Hong Kong is back in business, it's time that our two economies, and communities, revitalised our longstanding ties, in business, finance, culture, people-to-people bonds and more.
I take heart in comments made by your Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Vincent Van Peteghem. Speaking at this year's Asian Financial Forum, he emphasised the potential for co-operation in the green economy, and underlined Belgium's goal to be "completely climate neutral by 2050".
That is our goal, too. Beyond that, Hong Kong is determined to become a global centre for green and sustainable finance. In this, I'm sure our two economies can find manifold opportunities for co-operation on the green road to 2050.
Our nation's 14th Five-Year Plan also supports Hong Kong's progress as an international financial centre, including our rise as a green finance hub.
Innovation and technology (I&T) is also a policy priority. Our Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, put forward a number of innovation and technology initiatives in his Policy Address last month. This includes a US$1.3 billion programme to commercialise the R&D (research and development) outcomes of our universities and wide-ranging plans to attract high-tech, high-quality companies and talent to Hong Kong. Fast-tracking the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park's development is high on our long list of I&T priorities, too. With these initiatives, I look forward to seeing more Belgian companies and talents joining us in Hong Kong.
The Policy Address also highlighted Hong Kong's plans for the Northern Metropolis, a new international innovation and technology city. Its far-reaching development potential will extend into Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area.
This year's World Intellectual Property Organization's annual Global Innovation Index ranked the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou cluster - effectively the Greater Bay Area - second among the world's top science-and-technology clusters. Hong Kong will continue to be the gateway of the Mainland and the world.
Brussels, of course, is also among the world's leading science and technology centres, led by its prestigious universities. Hong Kong, too, is internationally acclaimed for its post-secondary institutions, the only city in Asia to count five universities among the world's top 100.
In that, there is much promise for collaboration among our universities and R&D institutions.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong's uniqueness stems from the "one country, two systems" framework. Together with the rule of law and our formidable institutional strengths, they are defining the advantages that have long propelled Hong Kong's resounding success. Hong Kong is a place of opportunity for people around the world. I am confident that the New Year will bring fresh momentum for closer co-operation between Hong Kong and Belgium.
On that welcome prospect, I wish you all an enjoyable evening. Thank you.
Ends/Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:40
Issued at HKT 19:40