October 24, 2023
HONG KONG – Hong Kong will actively participate in and contribute to the eight steps proposed by President Xi Jinping to promote high-quality joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative, and seize the new opportunities to achieve higher level and long-term development for the city, says Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po.
Writing in his Sunday blog, he said the special administrative region has been an important node and functional platform for the joint construction of the BRI, and can contribute in five key directions.
Hong Kong can build a three-dimensional interconnection network comprising air, land and sea transport, with the city’s strength in aviation being particularly prominent, such as having a vast and frequent global flight network and an efficient airport.
“We expect our transportation capacity to rebound to 80 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels by year end and be fully restored next year. When the airport’s Three-Runway System is fully operational, the runway’s capacity will increase by 50 percent and, by 2035, it will be able to handle 120 million passengers and 10 million tons of cargo annually,” he said.
The SAR can also leverage its financial infrastructure to provide rich and diversified services for various projects, thus promoting higher-quality infrastructure development of the BRI. Chan noted that infrastructure loan securitization products had been launched for the first time in mid-2023 in a bid to securitize project rights and interests to help accelerate the flow of funds and guide funds to some green and sustainable development projects.
Hong Kong can also bank on its high-quality professional services, ranging from engineering, planning and construction, accounting, finance and risk management to legal, mediation and arbitration services, to elevate the value and operational efficiency of BRI projects.
The third way for Hong Kong to contribute is promoting green development and technological innovation. “Hong Kong is already Asia’s leading green financial center, and is making every effort to build an international innovation and technology hub under the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). The city is vigorously advancing itself as a green technology and finance pivot that can help BRI countries and regions achieve their green development objectives,” the finance chief said.
With the “hard connectivity” of infrastructure and the “soft connectivity” of rules and standards, the SAR is striving to play a major role in people-to-people connectivity. “Hong Kong is familiar with the Chinese mainland and foreign countries, is rich in cultural resources, and has a blend of Eastern and Western cultures. In today’s complex geopolitical situation, Hong Kong must make good use of its unique cultural characteristics to foster dialogue, exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, both within and outside the BRI,” he said.
The BRI’s international cooperation mechanism is another area to which Hong Kong can contribute. Through this mechanism in various fields, BRI countries and regions can have more rights to participate. When they can discuss different issues together, it will provide better institutional guarantees for the initiative to go deeper and further.
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“With convenient international flights and connections, a free, open, diverse and inclusive culture, and a safe urban environment, Hong Kong is an ideal platform for organizing large-scale international conferences and events,” said Chan. “We will be hosting a number of large-scale international events in the coming months, including Fintech Week, the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit, Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative Institute’s first summit in Hong Kong, and the Asian Financial Forum. These international conferences will invite important political and business leaders from the mainland and the world to take part and play a more active role in promoting exchanges and mutual understanding among all parties.”
“Hong Kong has the unique advantage of the mainland’s backing, linking up with the world under ‘one country, two systems’. It is an active participant in, contributor to and beneficiary of the joint construction of the BRI, and will make greater contributions to the BRI’s high-quality development,” Chan said.