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Opening remarks by CE at press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (English only) (with photo/video)
     Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at the press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia today (February 5, Riyadh time):

     Media friends from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and different parts of the world, many of you coming all the way from Hong Kong and beyond, I am pleased to speak to you all here on the first day of my visit to the Middle East as the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

     The Middle East visit has two parts. The first is our presence today and tomorrow at Riyadh, to be followed by a stay in the United Arab Emirates.

     I value this Middle East visit very much and have brought with me a strong Hong Kong delegation. The delegation includes more than 30 business heavyweights from various sectors, including finance and trade, industrial, professional services, infrastructure and development, innovation and technology, and transport and logistics. This underscores the great importance Hong Kong attaches to the Middle East region.

Belt and Road Initiative

     The Middle East region, in particular the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are key links in the Belt and Road Initiative.

     Last December, President Xi attended the first China-Arab States Summit here in Riyadh, during which he pointed out China and Arab states should focus on economic development and promote high-quality co-operation, and strengthen partnership in such areas as economy and trade, energy and infrastructure development, green development, health services and digital economy.

Advantages under "One Country, Two Systems"

     As an integral part of China, Hong Kong is bestowed with unique advantages under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. We enjoy the strong support of our country's national strategies while having unparalleled access and connectivity with the world.

     As the world's freest economy, a major international financial centre and the world's largest offshore Renminbi centre, Hong Kong is determined to fully co-operate with and contribute to the Middle East region and other Belt and Road countries with our world-class financial, business and professional services, in particular to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030" and the UAE's "We The UAE 2031".

     This Hong Kong mission dovetails with our country's national strategies as outlined in the 14th Five-Year Plan which supports the growth and development of Hong Kong in eight important areas. These cover our traditional strengths in finance, trade, shipping, aviation, international legal and dispute resolution services and intellectual property trading. They also cover our up-and-coming industries of innovation and technology, and arts and culture.

"Hello Hong Kong"

     This Hong Kong mission also signifies that Hong Kong is now seamlessly connected to the world again - there is no isolation, no quarantine, and no restriction for you to come to Hong Kong.

     Three days ago, we launched the "Hello Hong Kong" campaign to tell the world that we are welcoming everybody to join Hong Kong on our centre stage.

     We are generously offering 500,000 free air tickets to welcome tourists from every part of the world to come to Hong Kong, which probably is the world's biggest welcome ever.

     We also welcome the world to a large array of mega events and giant trade shows, ranging from sporting and outdoor events to arts and cultural extravaganzas.

     We will also invite prominent guests from around the world, from business leaders and political dignitaries to social media influencers, to come to Hong Kong and see for themselves our welcoming atmosphere, promising opportunities, and many exciting developments and new attractions.

Positive outcome expected

     Building on our solid bilateral relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE at present, we see huge potential for wider and deeper co-operation and collaboration between Hong Kong and the Middle East region.

     Today, I have just announced the launching of negotiation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Hong Kong Government of the legally binding Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and other partnership agreements. We shall also sign several Memoranda of Understanding. We expect more and more visits and contacts at all levels with Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region, at the government, chamber and corporate levels.

     I look forward to introducing Hong Kong's unique appeal in person to the distinguished leaders and people I meet here in the Middle East region, and extend my warmest invitation to them so that they will come and visit and invest in Hong Kong and work together with us in charting a brighter tomorrow for regional co-operation.

     Next, I would like to invite Dr Peter Lam, the Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, to say a few words.
Ends/Monday, February 6, 2023
Issued at HKT 2:06
Today's Press Releases  


The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee (fourth right), together with the Deputy Secretary for Justice, Mr Cheung Kwok-kwan (third right); the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui (second right); the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau (first right); the Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Dr Peter Lam (fourth left); Deputy Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Mr Darryl Chan (third left); the Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Ms Betty Yuen (second left) and the Chairman of Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation, Dr Sunny Chai (first left) meets the media in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, today (February 5, Riyadh time).

Audio / Video

CE meets media in Riyadh