Win-win hybrid format overcomes limits of geography
The seventh 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 today (31 August). This year’s event lasts two days and runs in a hybrid physical and digital format, helping overcome geographical boundaries. Business leaders unable to attend the summit in person at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) join all sessions online and identify potential business opportunities through the online platform. Participants and guest speakers at the physical summit can actively interact during the event as more than 80 government and business leaders share their insights and explore opportunities the Belt and Road Initiative presents.
As the first major international event following celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, the summit runs under the theme “Heralding a New Chapter: Collaborate and Innovate”. Project owners and operators, investors and service providers can explore opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) development and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) through a variety of activities, including the Policy Dialogue, plenary sessions, thematic breakout sessions, one-to-one project matching and project pitching sessions and a virtual exhibition, creating a multi-win situation that will help boost economic growth in the region. Activities today are held both online and offline while tomorrow (1 September) will be entirely online.
In this morning’s opening session, Dr Peter K N Lam, HKTDC Chairman, delivered welcoming remarks. John Lee, HKSAR Chief Executive, delivered the opening address. Han Zheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, delivered the keynote speech. Wang Wentao, Minister, Ministry of Commerce, the People’s Republic of China; Hao Peng, Chairman, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), the People’s Republic of China and Lin Nianxiu, Vice Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Republic of China, delivered special addresses while Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization, gave a keynote address.
Mr Lee said in his opening speech: “The global rise of protectionism has reminded us of how important regional co-operation is. We have to work together for the better future of the region. Hong Kong is therefore very pleased to see the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, come into force earlier this year. The landmark agreement underlines the open, inclusive, rules-based trade and investment partnership that RCEP’s member states are committed to realising. We believe that regional economic integration is an essential complement to multilateral trade. Hong Kong is seeking early accession to RCEP. It will enable us to deepen the collaboration and connections we enjoy with our close partners. The Belt and Road was created to build connectivity, to bring business, and people, together. No one does that better than Hong Kong, thanks to our ‘one country, two systems’ principle; thanks to our longstanding East-meets-West experience and the boundless opportunities afforded us in national development.”
Delivering the keynote speech, Mr Han said: “Hong Kong is an active participant, contributor and beneficiary of the Belt and Road Initiative. We are pleased to see that since the initiative launched, Hong Kong has actively negotiated and signed cooperation agreements with co-construction countries, developing trade and investment cooperation, service standard connection, international financial cooperation and exchange between people. Hong Kong plays an important role in Belt and Road development, as well as expanding its own development space. Hong Kong deserves full recognition for its work in this area. The Central Authorities will adhere to the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ in the long run, fully supporting Hong Kong in maintaining its unique status and advantages. Authorities fully support Hong Kong’s active participation in and contribution to the Belt and Road development.”
Addressing the opening session, Mr Zhang said: “The COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, climate change and anti-globalization sentiment are the four major factors that I believe could affect the reshaping of the landscape of global trade policies. It is very challenging but can still be managed well if the whole world works together. To address these challenges, I strongly encourage enhanced dialogue and cooperation between all governments to find collective solutions because none of these challenges can be addressed by one government alone. Global challenges require global solutions.”
Dr Lam said: “The HKTDC is honoured to have Vice Premier Han Zheng deliver an important keynote speech at today’s summit, giving a more specific illustration of Hong Kong’s role as an active participant, contributor and beneficiary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Following President Xi Jinping’s important speech on 1 July, the Vice Premier’s ‘Four Hopes’ for Hong Kong’s participation in the construction of the Belt and Road further highlighted the direction of the city’s development. The HKTDC has always been committed to promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and development opportunities. The team and I will continue our efforts to promote Hong Kong as an international business platform and services hub and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Multipartite cooperation to promote economic growth
The Policy Dialogue Session, chaired by HKSAR Deputy Finance Secretary Michael Wong, analysed how economies under the Belt and Road Initiative can strengthen cooperation and boost economic growth through infrastructure development and trade under the theme “Driving Growth through Partnership and Collaboration”. The panel featured government and business leaders from several Belt and Road countries, including Lim Sidenine, Secretary of State of Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Kingdom of Cambodia; Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Indonesia; Lim Ban Hong, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia; Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Singapore; and Chayotid Kridakon, Thai Trade Representative and Advisor to the Prime Minister.
Growing relationship between Belt and Road, RCEP and GBA
The RCEP, which came into effect this year, is the largest free trade agreement in history, accounting for 30% of the world’s population and GDP. With the joint effort of more than 100 countries connected with the Belt and Road Initiative, global regional economic integration will be become more established. The Business Plenary titled “Collaborate for a Bright New Era” was held this morning, with Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, delivering the welcoming remarks. Hosted by Ronnie Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties Limited, the session examined how economic growth can be achieved through multipartite cooperation. Other guest speakers included the Chairman of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, JP Morgan’s Asia Pacific Advisory Council and Non-Executive Chairman of Lion Rod Eddington; the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key; President of the Bank of China Liu Liange; Deputy Managing Director & Chairman for Hong Kong of Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited YK Pang; and CEO and President of Berli Jucker Public Company Limited Aswin Techajareonvikul.
In his welcome remarks, Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, said: “We are capitalising on our strong collaboration with Shenzhen, developing Hong Kong into an international innovation and technology hub, focusing development on life and health sciences, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and data industry, etc. We are also pressing ahead with more local infrastructure projects, including the Northern Metropolis and the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, as well as many other road, railway and land development projects. Talents, capital and entrepreneurs are all essential to achieving our goals. We warmly welcome businesses and talents from all over the world, Belt and Road countries included of course, to come to Hong Kong to collaborate with us and grasp the enormous opportunities together. To this end, we will have new policies and support measures to facilitate the coming of talents and enterprises.”
The strong economic resilience demonstrated by the Greater Bay Area amid the pandemic will further unleash the region’s economic potential in terms of cross-border trade and financial market liberalisation, along with the development of cutting-edge innovation and technology. The Business Plenary this afternoon, “Capturing Synergies between Belt and Road and Greater Bay Area”, was hosted by David YK Wong, Permanent Honorary President of The Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong. The panelists included Chairman of the Power Construction Corporation of China Ding Yanzhang; CEO, Chairman of the Management Committee, Executive Director of the Board of China International Capital Corporation Limited Huang Zhaohui; Chairman of MTR Corporation Limited Rex Auyeung; Chairman of WeLab Bank KC Chan; and Chairman of East Asia Region of Arup Group Michael Kwok. The speakers shared ideas on the potential opportunities the GBA brings as an important Belt and Road hub, and also discussed how Hong Kong can further leverage the advantages of the GBA to enhance its position and promote the development of the city’s industries.
Five breakout sessions explore hot-button issues on summit’s first day
Spanning many countries and regions, the Belt and Road Initiative creates new room for the development of professional sectors. On the first day, the summit, in conjunction with a number of organisations including the Department of Justice of the HKSAR Government, the Insurance Regulatory Authority, China Foreign Contractors Association and Dun & Bradstreet, held five breakout sessions to examine a range of topics such as international dispute resolution, insurance services, GBA infrastructure development, digital technology development and future infrastructure development. More thematic breakout sessions and project pitching sessions will be held tomorrow – details of the programme, speakers and partner organisations can be found at https://www.beltandroadSummit.hk/conference/bnr/en
One-to-one business matching meetings and project pitching sessions
Following the success at previous summits, the HKTDC has extended the hybrid project and business-matching sessions from two to seven days (31 August to 6 September) this year. New features include a video display at the summit to increase project exposure and give investors and professional service companies a better understanding of project details.
The summit also features online and offline exhibitions which have attracted more than 60 exhibitors and are divided into the “Global Investment Zone”, “Hong Kong Zone” and “GBA Tech Zone”. The project pitching sessions give entrepreneurs from different countries a platform to present projects, giving investors and service intermediaries a comprehensive understanding of investment opportunities in different sectors. Pitching sessions focus on four main areas – energy, natural resources and public utilities; innovation and technology; urban development; and transport and logistics infrastructure.
China International Capital Corporation Ltd serves as the Strategic Partner of the seventh Belt and Road Summit; Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd as the Regional Banking Partner; and China Mobile International Limited and China Unicom Global Limited as Platinum Sponsors.
The Seventh Belt and Road Summit
Date: 31 August 2022 (Wednesday) Hybrid; 1 September 2022 (Thursday) Online
– Belt and Road Summit: https://www.beltandroadSummit.hk/conference/bnr/en
– Programme: https://www.beltandroadSummit.hk/conference/bnr/en/programme
– Speaker list: https://www.beltandroadSummit.hk/conference/bnr/en/speaker
– Photo download: https://bit.ly/3QbkuDe
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 research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn
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