Cooperation Agreements Signed as Initiative Turned “from Vision to Action”
HONG KONG — Jointly organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the second Belt and Road Summit concluded today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
Under the theme “From Vision to Action,” the Summit gathered 40 senior government ministers and business leaders from Belt and Road countries and regions to discuss the Initiative’s latest developments and to examine opportunities for different sectors.
There were also project presentations, one-on-one business-matching meetings and an exhibition area that showcased various professional services. A platform for both high-level idea exchanges and concrete business cooperation, the Summit drew more than 3,000 government officials and business leaders from some 50 countries and regions.
At the opening session, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR; Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Republic of China; Gao Yan, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, the People’s Republic of China; and Xie Feng, Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR, delivered keynote speeches.
Mrs Lam said: “Since the beginning of this term of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government on July 1 this year, my colleagues and I have engaged in earnest discussions with the Central Government on a new cooperation agreement that would give full play to Hong Kong’s unique advantages under ‘one country, two systems’ in support of the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Mr Ning said the National Development and Reform Commission will continue to support Hong Kong to develop its economy and leverage its advantages to promote major national strategies, including the Belt and Road Initiative, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area development plan and the internationalisation of the renminbi. This will enable the city to benefit while serving the country, he added.
Ms Gao said Hong Kong can team up with the Chinese mainland to create investment and financing platforms, transportation and logistics hubs, as well as professional services platforms, while leveraging the Bay Area concept to make the city an important Belt and Road hub. Mr Xie said Hong Kong can play a unique role as facilitator and promoter for the Belt and Road.
“Our theme this year is ‘From Vision to Action’, as we help to bring together tangible projects, serious investors and knowledgeable professionals to package complex developments into commercially viable and bankable projects,” said HKTDC Chairman Vincent HS Lo, who also mentioned that the HKTDC will be forming a network to link up organisations from around the world who are interested in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Business matching fosters concrete cooperation
The Summit was also a business-matching platform for Belt and Road companies. Loxley, a Thai-listed company that received a HKTDC mission in May, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hong Kong’s Insight Robotics Ltd at the Summit. The agreement paves the way for the introduction of Hong Kong’s advanced technologies to Thailand under the country’s “Thailand 4.0” development plan, which aims to accelerate Thailand’s economic development through technology. The HKTDC also organised project presentations and business-matching opportunities for Loxley representatives.
ASEAN infrastructure development policies and prospects explored
Policy coordination among governments is essential to the Belt and Road Initiative, as are the relaxation of restrictions, the removal of barriers and the promotion of investment, commerce and trade. The panel “Investing in Belt and Road: Dialogue with Policymakers.” was chaired by Laura Cha, Chairman of Hong Kong’s Financial Services Development Council. Panellists Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the HKSAR Government; Virasakdi Futrakul, Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Justyna Skrzydlo, Poland’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Construction, examined their respective economies’ policy landscapes and investment opportunities.
The second panel spotlighted ASEAN economies that have undergone rapid economic growth in recent years. Chaired by Bernard Chan, President of the Asia Financial Holdings Ltd, along with six panellists from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and ASEAN, the panel examined the region’s infrastructure development needs and related opportunities. The speakers, who possessed first-hand experience as investors, services providers or users in infrastructure projects, discussed how different projects matched local development needs and how Hong Kong enterprises can take part in infrastructure projects.
At the keynote luncheon, Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, delivered the opening remarks. In his keynote address, Dr Luky Eko Wuryanto, Vice President and Chief Administration Officer of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), provided insights into the status and future prospects of infrastructure development in Asia. The AIIB is offering a new platform for supporting various infrastructure projects for its 80 member economies.
Opportunities for the financial and legal sectors and young entrepreneurs
The three thematic breakout forums in the afternoon examined how Hong Kong’s financial and legal professionals can tap opportunities presented by the Belt and Road countries’ infrastructure developments. One forum was co-organised by the HKTDC and the HKMA Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO), hosted by IFFO Advisor Dr Victor K Fung. The forum invited various key stakeholders to examine how Hong Kong’s financial sector can assist investors and project owners with their projects’ financial arrangements to achieve maximum returns.
Another breakout forum, co-organised by the HKTDC and the Department of Justice of the Government of the HKSAR, featuring a distinguished panel of arbitrators and legal professionals, discussed how Hong Kong’s legal experts can help to assess risks and minimise disputes at the contract negotiation stage, manage potential legal risks during the implementation of infrastructure projects, and how it can provide effective dispute resolution services.
The third thematic forum on “Sharing by Young Business Leaders on Belt and Road Opportunities,” featured young business leaders from Hong Kong and ASEAN countries, who shared their views on the business opportunities presented by the Initiative. The forum aimed to encourage more start-ups and young entrepreneurs to take part in Belt and Road developments.
Presentations by project owners from Belt and Road countries
Project owners from Belt and Road countries and regions showcased more than 150 investment projects at the Summit to seek investors and related services providers. Based on the nature of the projects, the HKTDC organised the Project Presentations & Networking sessions under three themes.
In the Transport & Logistics Infrastructure session, participants included the China International Contractors Association, Thailand’s Department of Highways and Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Industrial Zone. At the Energy, Natural Resources & Public Utilities session, projects were presented by the Chairman of Russia’s Engineering Consulting Company and a representative of Kazakhstan’s Department of Asset Privatisation and Restructuring of ‘Samruk-Kazyna’ JSC, among others. At the Urban Development session, project presenters included Indonesia’s Acceleration of Maritime Development of Medan City, North Sumatera, Myanmar’s Department of Urban and Housing Development and Vietnam’s Sunny World Property Development.
The HKTDC also arranged One-to-One Business Matching Meetings for more than 200 project owners, investors and services providers.
Financial, legal, ICT services providers offer on-site consultancy
The Summit featured an exhibition area that showcased the advantages of Hong Kong’s services providers to business visitors from around the world. More than 30 banks and financial institutions, infrastructure-related services providers and various professional services companies offered their financial and advisory services, legal and accounting consultancies and ICT services to the Summit’s participants. In addition, the Global Investment Zone displayed the latest information and investment opportunities of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Germany.
This year’s Belt and Road Summit was one of the events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, with support from a wide range of relevant sectors, embodying the key celebration theme “Together, Progress, Opportunity.” The Summit invited some 40 global business leaders to serve as honorary advisors for the event. The China International Capital Corporation Ltd was the Summit’s Strategic Partner and the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd was the Diamond Sponsor.
Interview: Dr Luky Eko Wuryanto, Vice President & Chief Administration Officer, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): https://youtu.be/hLWY-Hcjjsw
Interview: Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh, CEO & Managing Director, Fusionex (Malaysia): https://youtu.be/sLfqRktFSY8