Published: 21:19, October 18, 2023 | Updated: 10:53, October 19, 2023
HK's unique strengths grow stronger in next golden decade of Belt & Road cooperation
By Sunny Tan

I have had the great honour to represent the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) to join the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region delegation, and attend the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing on 18 Oct. To say I am proud would be an understatement, as I learn about the achievements made by our country and its partners in promoting global connectivity, economic cooperation and growth during the first decade of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is also heartening to know that Hong Kong has played a pivotal role, and become an important participant, facilitator, and beneficiary of the initiative. 

As BRI heads toward the next golden decade, it will bring abundant opportunities and greater prosperity to countries and regions worldwide. Hong Kong will play a more prominent role. HKPC is a key facilitator for Hong Kong and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) to promote high-quality development of BRI and new industrialisation. The experience of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area is highly valuable for BRI markets such as those in ASEAN and the Middle East, which grapple with the common challenges to chart a new course for innovation-driven development. In the past 10 years, HKPC has helped many Hong Kong enterprises in a wide range of sectors to explore BRI markets, providing support in Industry 4.0 (i4.0) technologies, FutureSkills training and HKSAR Government funding. These enterprises helped spur economic growth in their destination BRI countries and regions, create jobs and training opportunities, enabling local residents to benefit from BRI development. 

Looking forward, HKPC will follow the vision laid out in President Xi Jinping’s speeches at the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and the eight steps for high-quality BRI cooperation. We will continue leveraging Hong Kong's advantages and serving the country's development needs, and will take the following five measures, to make greater contributions to BRI. 

1. Strengthen Hong Kong’s unique advantages, enhancing BRI connectivity, promoting an open, global economy

Asia’s World City will enhance its strengths in finance, trade, international legal and dispute resolution, intellectual property, construction, shipping and logistics, and will build new strengths as a global powerhouse in innovation and technology, new industrialization, digital economy and green development. HKPC will fully support HKSAR government’s efforts on these fronts, for the city to tap the new opportunities presented by the country’s commitment to enter into free trade agreements and investment protection agreements with more countries. 

2. Promote New Industrialisation in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area through innovation and technology, and share expertise and best practices with BRI countries and regions

As the Mainland will lift all restrictions for foreign investment in manufacturing sectors, the manufacturing industry is in for a boon. HKPC will support more Hong Kong and Mainland enterprises to “go global”, and attract more top-notch, high-tech enterprises and start-ups from overseas to set up office in Hong Kong for investment and win-win collaboration. This will create a spill-over effect and help BRI economies to learn from the new industrialisation experience of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area and pursue high-end, sustainable, smart manufacturing. 

3. Support Hong Kong to become a green and smart city, fostering BRI green development 

HKPC will continue enhancing Hong Kong’s edge in green technology, ESG, green infrastructure, hydrogen energy, new energy vehicles, and green transportation. We will strengthen collaboration with universities, research institutions, and business associations in BRI countries and regions, provide more training programmes, and help BRI markets embrace green, low-carbon, and sustainable development.

4. Facilitate technology and talent exchange between Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and BRI markets, carrying out pragmatic cooperation and strengthening people-people ties 

HKPC will help more enterprises in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area to visit BRI markets, join trade shows, exhibitions, seminars, and business matching activities. We will continue as an active participant in and will support Hong Kong enterprises to join premium trade shows in the Mainland, such as China International Import Expo, and Canton Fair, for Belt and Road opportunities.

HKPC Academy will deepen collaboration with consulates of BRI countries in Hong Kong and invite heavyweight speakers to share experience and latest development. HKPC Academy strives to increase technology and talent exchange, including programmes for the younger generations, and at the same time, will offer FutureSkills training to strengthen the talent pool as enterprises consider expansion in BRI markets. 

5. Leverage Hong Kong’s strengths as an international city, bringing together advantageous resources, and contributing to the enhancement of international cooperation mechanism for BRI 

Our country will work with BRI partners to strengthen multilateral cooperation platforms covering energy, taxation, finance, green development and other fields. Hong Kong will play a pivotal role by leveraging its advantages as an international city. HKPC champions international cooperation, especially in the fields of innovation and technology. HKPC and Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (Fraunhofer IPT), Germany, has jointly established the INC Invention Centre in Hong Kong to promote i4.0 and smart manufacturing. HKPC also works with RWTH Aachen Campus, a university in Germany, in the operations of Hong Kong Industrial Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Centre (FLAIR). HKPC will continuously strengthen international cooperation, bring international innovation and technology resources to Hong Kong, and contribute to enhancing the international cooperation mechanisms for BRI.

As BRI embarks on an extraordinary journey for a new decade, HKPC will give full play to Hong Kong’s unique advantages, support the city for better integration into the national development, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and make greater contributions to the country’s modernisation and the aspiration to build an open, inclusive, interconnected world for common development.

The author is Chairman of Hong Kong Productivity Council. 

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.