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Published: 17:08, July 24, 2023 | Updated: 21:19, July 24, 2023
CE John Lee meets Singapore PM
By Mike Gu in Hong Kong
Published:17:08, July 24, 2023 Updated:21:19, July 24, 2023 By Mike Gu in Hong Kong

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu meets with Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore on July 24, 2023. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu met with Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong on Monday in Singapore, the second day of Lee’s weeklong visit to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Lee said that the last time they met was during the informal meeting of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Bangkok, Thailand in November last year. Lee thanked the prime minister for inviting him to visit Singapore, and for all the hospitality and efforts made by the Singapore government for this meeting. 

Lee said Hong Kong and Singapore maintain close economic relations, and Singapore has consistently been Hong Kong’s largest ASEAN trading partner

Noting the close relationship between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Singapore, Lee said that he believed Hong Kong and Singapore will continue to be active partners and play a useful role in regional developments.

Lee also said that Hong Kong's bid to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is an important step in strengthening its relationship with Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

He expressed his gratitude to Singapore for supporting the HKSAR's accession to the RCEP. He said the HKSAR government is ready to engage in exploratory discussions with RCEP members, including Singapore, to deepen mutual understanding and lay the groundwork for the ensuing formal negotiations.

READ MORECE to lead delegation to visit Singapore, Indonesia & Malaysia

Accompanying Lee are several senior government officials and about 30 high-level representatives from industry and commerce, financial services, transportation, logistics and e-commerce, and the innovation and technology sectors.

In a social media post, Lee said that Hong Kong and Singapore have maintained close economic relations for years, and that Singapore has consistently been Hong Kong’s largest ASEAN trading partner. In 2022, the bilateral trade in goods amounted to HK$481.5 billion (S$83.5 billion). Despite impacts of the pandemic, the annual average growth rate was 5.9 percent since 2018, Lee added.  

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (second left) attends a lunch hosted by Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong (second right) in Singapore on July 24, 2023. Looking on are Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun (first right), and Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security of Singapore Teo Chee Hean (first left). (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

In the afternoon, the delegation led by Lee visited Meinhardt Group, a major Singaporean enterprise, to learn about its business development in engineering consulting services.

Lee said that its successful experience in using the HKSAR as a springboard to tap into the Chinese mainland market could inspire other Singaporean and ASEAN enterprises to follow suit.

He also encouraged the group to participate in the major development projects that Hong Kong is currently promoting, including the development of the Northern Metropolis.

READ MORESingapore, HK connect the region and the world

In the evening, Lee attended a business dinner jointly organized by the HKSAR government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Addressing about 200 representatives of the government and business leaders of Singapore, Lee introduced the unique advantages of Hong Kong under "one country, two systems" and the latest investment opportunities in his keynote speech.

During the dinner, enterprises and institutions from the HKSAR and Singapore also signed seven memoranda of understanding on areas including trade, financial services, fintech, innovation and technology, and research collaboration.

Lee will stay in Singapore until the morning of July 25, when he will depart for Jakarta, Indonesia. After visiting Indonesia, he will travel to Malaysia on the morning of July 27 and return to Hong Kong on July 29. 

Contact the writer at mikegu@chinadailyhk.com

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