Focus on policy direction to drive cross-regional opportunities
The fourth Belt and Road Summit, jointly organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), opened Wednesday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
The two-day event saw more than 80 government officials and business leaders from Hong Kong, Mainland China and countries along the Belt and Road gathering to share the latest developments related to the Initiative, taking an in-depth look at how Hong Kong can give full play to its strengths in helping participants from different countries and professional sectors explore Belt and Road opportunities.
Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, officiated at the Summit’s opening ceremony and delivered the opening remarks. “Inspired by the promise of the Belt and Road, we have adopted a whole-government, five-pronged strategy, covering enhancing policy coordination, fully realising Hong Kong’s unique advantages, maximising Hong Kong’s position as a professional services hub, establishing partnerships and collaboration, and promoting Hong Kong’s project participation. The connectivity and cooperation promoted by the Belt and Road has become increasingly prominent in today’s complex social and business environment. Hong Kong, China’s most competitive and international city, will play a significant role in complementing this strategic direction. I am confident, as well, that Hong Kong can create opportunities in capacity building, green finance, professional services and business matching.”
HE Gao Yunlong, Vice-chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, gave a special address. “Over the past six years, the Belt and Road Initiative has transformed from ideas to actions, and from vision to reality. The outline of ‘six corridors and six channels serving multiple countries and ports’ has been formed. Numerous projects providing access between China and other countries have been successfully launched, helping to build a multinational economic corridor. With great support from the Central Government, Hong Kong can give full play to its edge by participating fully in the Belt and Road Initiative and fostering the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which has already resulted in some outstanding achievements. Hong Kong comprehensively leverages on its strengths as a one-stop centre, providing professional services such as trading, investment and legal services to all kinds of enterprises. Hong Kong is also supported by international talent, and its deepened cooperation with Mainland China.”
Also delivering keynote speeches were Hao Peng, Chairman, State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council; Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission; Wang Bingnan, Vice Minister, Ministry of Commerce; and Xie Feng, Commissioner, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The speakers focused on the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative in driving the steady growth of China’s national economy and examined Hong Kong’s vital role in the process.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman of the HKTDC, said: “Large-scale projects and investments in the Belt and Road require global cooperation to succeed, especially in the face of economic uncertainty and global instability. Governments, investors and businesses need to work together to assess risks and set goals. They need to find projects and make connections. And they also need to make the right decisions and look for the right partners. Hong Kong – and today’s Summit – are the ideal platforms for you to do so. Although Hong Kong is going through a challenging time right now, we are resilient, and our fundamentals remain strong. I am confident that our city will get through these tough times and emerge stronger.”
Analysing policy direction and investment opportunities
Policy coordination among governments is essential to the success of the Belt and Road Initiative, as are the relaxation of restrictions, the removal of barriers and the promotion of investment, commerce and trade. A plenary session titled “Policy Dialogue Session: Facilitating Regional Co-operation through Five Areas of Connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative” was held earlier today, chaired by Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the HKSAR. The panellists – HE Sok Sopheak, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, the Kingdom of Cambodia; HE Abdulla Al Saleh, Under Secretary of the Foreign Trade and Industry, Ministry of Economy, the United Arab Emirates; and Gabor Gion, Minister of State for Financial Policy Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Hungary – examined the policy landscapes and investment opportunities in their respective economies.
Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, delivered the opening remarks at the “Second Policy Dialogue Session and Luncheon”. Discussing the relationship between the Belt and Road Initiative and global policy were Dana Meager, Deputy Minister of Finance and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for Negotiations on Belt and Road Initiative; HE U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations; Chairman of Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; and Angelo B Taningco, Assistant Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines.
A session titled “Investing for Value – Making Belt and Road Projects Viable”, hosted by Bernard Chan, President of Asia Financial Holdings Limited, discussed risk management and the opportunities associated with large investment projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. Six panellists from Mainland China and ASEAN countries – including Dato’ Seri Cheah Cheng Hye, Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Value Partners Group; Dhanin Chearavanont, Senior Chairman, Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group); Victor Chu, Chairman & CEO, First Eastern Investment Group; Li Xiaopeng, Chairman, China Everbright Group Limited; Mochtar Riady, Founder and Chairman, Lippo Group; and Song Zhiping, Chairman, China National Building Material Group Co., Ltd. – shared their experience in successfully exploring Belt and Road investment projects and using Hong Kong as a financing and business platform.
Professionals leading the way forward
Various thematic breakout forums were held on the first day of the Summit, focusing on the areas of sustainable finance, legal arbitration and risk management. A session titled “Sustainable Finance in Infrastructure”, co-organised with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, explained the benefits of sustainable finance to project investors. The panel, comprising public and private stakeholders, examined the business case for adopting sustainable finance in infrastructure projects and shared insights on the latest industry trends and offerings in this regard.
Another breakout forum titled “Towards a Greater Success of Belt and Road Projects for Sustainable Investment – Hong Kong Can Lead”, co-organised with the Department of Justice of the HKSAR, invited Dr Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), and legal experts to deliberate how proper risk-management planning, good corporate governance and dispute-resolution mechanisms can help to sustain further investment in the Belt and Road Initiative.
The breakout forum titled “Risk Management as the Common Language among Stakeholders of the Belt and Road Initiative: Bridging Risk Transfer and Project Finance”, co-organised with the Insurance Authority of Hong Kong, analysed issues related to risk transfer and project finance. During the forum, insurance experts explained the functions and efficiency of risk management in project financing and the challenges and opportunities presented by the Belt and Road.
The Summit continues tomorrow with the plenary session, “Collaboration in Greater Bay Area for Belt and Road Success”, at which experts will examine the opportunities presented for Belt and Road businesses by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development Plan. Thematic breakout sessions will take place throughout the day covering a broad range of topics including Belt and Road opportunities for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), opportunities for the younger generation, and managing geopolitical risks.
China International Capital Corporation Ltd serves as the summit’s Strategic Partner. Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd is the Diamond Sponsor.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn.
Coco Yuen, Tel: +852 2584 4145, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Clayton Lauw, Tel: +852 2584 4194, Email: email@example.com