Asean visit: HK enters 15 trade deals with Indonesia

The deals signed with Indonesia, during Hong Kong CE John Lee's visit, include areas such as finance, trade and logistics.


Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (right) meets founder of Lippo Group Mochtar Riady in Jakarta on July 26, 2023. PHOTO: HKSAR GOVT/CHINA DAILY

July 27, 2023

HONG KONG – Hong Kong on Wednesday signed 15 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and agreements with Indonesia, covering areas associated with the city’s traditional strengths, such as finance, trade and logistics, as well as the city’s fledgling industries, such as aerospace technology, as the city’s top leader made a high-profile weeklong visit to countries in Southeast Asia.

The deals were signed at a luncheon hosted for the Indonesian business community in the country’s capital, Jakarta, on Wednesday.

Delivering a speech at the luncheon, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said Hong Kong is determined to strengthen cooperation with Indonesia on various fronts such as trade, investment, finance, innovation and technology, and culture and tourism.

The 15 trade deals touched on Hong Kong’s traditional strengths in trading and finance, with a cooperation agreement between the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and the Indonesia Stock Exchange, and the promotion of ESG (environmental, social and governance) and green finance, commerce, logistics, maritime services, and professional services.

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Agreements were also struck with regards to the exchange of meteorological information to enhance disaster control, as well as aerospace technology involving Hong Kong’s very first commercial satellite manufacturing center — which was inaugurated yesterday — and a leading Indonesian manufacturer.

Lee said this was his first visit to Indonesia as Hong Kong’s top leader. He added that Hong Kong and Indonesia have always maintained close relations and he sees great potential in strengthening Hong Kong’s collaboration with Indonesia. In 2022, Hong Kong and Indonesia recorded bilateral trade in goods amounting to $5.7 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 12 percent, government data showed.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, the annual average growth rate has exceeded 3 percent since 2018. Hong Kong is currently Indonesia’s third-largest source of foreign direct investment.

Among ASEAN states, Indonesia has the largest population and gross domestic product, and is Hong Kong’s sixth largest merchandise trade partner.

READ MORE: John Lee’s ASEAN trip is expected to strengthen HK’s role

Lee also thanked Indonesia for its support for Hong Kong’s application to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

He pointed out that under the unique “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong remains an international capitalist city that acts as a gateway between the Chinese mainland and the world. The central government also fully supports Hong Kong’s prosperity, stability, and security, he said. As an international gateway, Hong Kong’s participation in the RCEP is beneficial for regional economic cooperation.

Lee also extended an invitation to leaders in Indonesia and in other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to join in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, an important market where Hong Kong is seeking to further expand.

Asean visit: HK enters 15 trade deals with Indonesia

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (right) meets founder of Lippo Group Mochtar Riady in Jakarta on July 26, 2023. PHOTO: HKSAR GOVT/CHINA DAILY

Lee is leading a high-level delegation to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia – which are three key members of ASEAN. Lee’s delegation, comprising senior Hong Kong SAR government officials and 30 representatives from various business sectors, began its seven-day tour on Sunday.

The delegation on Wednesday morning visited a Hong Kong insurance company that is doing business in Indonesia, and an Indonesian company that has set up an office in Hong Kong. Lee later held a press conference and gave a speech at the business luncheon.

The delegation visited the high-speed railway in Jakarta, which was co-built by Chinese companies, on Wednesday afternoon. The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line, which entered joint commissioning and testing in May, is a landmark project under the Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure-centered strategy to enhance connectivity between Asia, Africa and Europe.

The line, the first overseas high-speed link that fully uses Chinese railway systems, is expected to start service on Aug 18 and will reduce the travel time between Jakarta and Bandung from 3 hours to 40 minutes.

READ MORECE John Lee meets Singapore PM

Lee also extended an invitation to people from Indonesia to visit Hong Kong to experience recent developments and look for new opportunities. Hong Kong is holding an immersive roadshow in Jakarta to introduce the city, he said, and is offering roundtrip air tickets to Hong Kong as prizes at the show, which ends on Saturday.

Former chairman of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Ltd Lee George Lam, who is a member of the delegation, told China Daily that Southeast Asian startups and unicorn companies are looking to enter the Greater Bay Area market through Hong Kong, while Hong Kong’s tech companies also need to access the Southeast Asian market, making this a win-win opportunity. Southeast Asian countries are also promoting sustainable development and green transformation, he said, and Hong Kong can find business opportunities in green finance, including green bonds and ESG investments, as well as green technology.

Asean visit: HK enters 15 trade deals with Indonesia

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (right) meets founder of Lippo Group Mochtar Riady in Jakarta on July 26, 2023. PHOTO: HKSAR GOVT/CHINA DAILY

As co-chairman of Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group Ltd, Lam said space technology is a booming industry and he is confident that Hong Kong can build a thriving space technology industry ecosystem and supply chain, as well as establish a batch of space technology industry investment funds, attracting and training space technology talent and companies from around the world.

“Southeast Asia is a good overseas market,” Lam added, noting that Indonesia has also been focusing on developing the digital economy and smart city in recent years, adding impetus to the commercial satellite industry. He believes that Hong Kong and Indonesia can join forces to create a cross-border, win-win ecosystem for technology talents, companies and investments in space technology, especially in commercial satellite operations.

Lam also said that Malaysia has development potential in the digital economy and green economy, adding that he hopes to attract more Malaysian companies to list or secondary list in Hong Kong, making Hong Kong’s stock market more international.

Asean visit: HK enters 15 trade deals with Indonesia

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (right) meets founder of Lippo Group Mochtar Riady in Jakarta on July 26, 2023. PHOTO: HKSAR GOVT/CHINA DAILY

Legislative Councilor Dominic Lee Tsz-king told China Daily that Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s recent visit to the ASEAN countries is a gambit that could pay off handsomely for Hong Kong. This visit underlines the Hong Kong government’s strategic pivot towards Southeast Asia — a region whose economic ascendancy is increasingly hard to ignore — he added.

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