Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor delivers a speech at the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce World Chinese Entrepreneurs Summit 2021 in Hong Kong on June 17, 2021. (PHOTO / INFORMATION SERVICES DEPARTMENT, HKSAR GOVT)
Despite rising global trade protectionism and unilateralism, Hong Kong should adhere to multilateralism, actively integrating into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor made the remarks on Thursday at a conference held by the Hong Kong-based Chinese General Chamber of Commerce.
As a major national development strategy, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is the best conduit for Hong Kong to integrate into the ‘dual circulation’ in the development blueprint and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Hong Kong chief executive
“As a major national development strategy, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is the best conduit for Hong Kong to integrate into the ‘dual circulation’ in the development blueprint and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative,” Lam said.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government will continue to strengthen ties and collaborate with Chinese businesses around the world to promote the Belt and Road, giving full play to Hong Kong's role as a unique gateway, springboard and intermediary, she added.
The Chinese population along the Belt and Road, especially in Southeast Asia, is 40 million, providing a driving force in the BRI blueprint, Lam said. “The Hong Kong government will actively communicate with Chinese businesses around the world to strengthen the city's trade network and secure better access to global markets for the business community,” she added.
Lam also emphasized the importance of multilateral economic cooperation efforts such as the fledgling Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) against the backdrop of rising global unilateralism. “The signing and implementation of the RCEP will help promote regional economic integration, provide an important impetus for the global post-pandemic economic recovery, and promote the quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area,” she said.
The RCEP will cover a market of 2.2 billion people — nearly 30 percent of the world’s population — and account for one-third of global GDP, making it the largest ever trade association. Fifteen countries — China, the 10 member states of ASEAN, plus Australia, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand — signed the RCEP agreement in November. The agreement will go into effect 60 days after it is ratified by 10 signatories, including at least six ASEAN countries and three from outside ASEAN. To date, four nations, including China, have ratified the deal.
The Hong Kong government has been actively seeking accession to the RCEP since 2018 to better integrate into the regional development and to benefit from preferential policies such as tariff reductions, preferential market access, removal of trade barriers, and simplified customs procedures.
“Hong Kong's accession to the RCEP will provide private sector a more-competitive platform to further expand trade and investment in the Chinese mainland, ASEAN and Hong Kong, while also providing companies with more quality services choices, including supply chain management services, financial and professional services,” Lam said.
Yuen Mo, chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, also underlined the importance of overseas Chinese business communities amid the global post-COVID 19 “new normal”.
“Hong Kong serves as a bridge between the Chinese mainland and overseas Chinese business community. Over the years, the city’s commercial sector has established a strong network with overseas Chinese businessmen and actively promoted long-term cooperation in the region,” Yuen said.
Gao Yunlong, a vice-chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said the overseas Chinese business community has a “unique advantage” as the bridge between China and their host countries.
“They are the advocate and practitioner of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said. “Young people of Hong Kong and Macao need to actively participate in the construction of the Greater Bay Area through cultural and learning exchanges, so as to enhance the sense of belonging toward the country.”
Themed “Connecting Greater Bay Area, Serving Belt and Road Initiative”, the second World Chinese Entrepreneurs Summit was organized by the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government. The first summit was held in 2018.
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