The eighth Belt & Road Summit opened in Hong Kong, attracting nearly 6,000 representatives from Belt & Road-related countries and regions.
With the theme “Prospering on a Decade of Collaboration”, this year’s summit commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Belt & Road Initiative.
Speaking at the opening session, Chief Executive John Lee highlighted that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is redoubling its effort to serve as the functional platform for the Belt & Road.
Mr Lee also expressed his gratitude to Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang for his speech at the summit and his strong support for the event.
In his video keynote speech, Mr Ding summarised the fruitful achievements made in promoting the Belt & Road Initiative over the past decade.
This includes China’s signing of over 200 co-operation agreements on jointly promoting the initiative with more than 180 countries and international organisations, to deepen co-operation in such fields as education, science, culture, sports and tourism.
The vice premier affirmed Hong Kong’s active participation in promoting the initiative while integrating into the country's overall development. Mr Ding also supported the city to maintain its distinctive status and edge, and to play a more important role in promoting the initiative.
He expressed his hope that Hong Kong could deepen regional co-operation to further expand its economic and trade networks.
The Chief Executive said: “We are deeply encouraged by Vice Premier Ding’s remarks, which stated that the Hong Kong Belt & Road Summit has become an important international business platform to promote co-operation, while the prospect of Hong Kong’s participation in and contribution to the Belt & Road Initiative are broad and promising.”
Speaking at the summit, the vice premier expressed his hope that Hong Kong could deepen regional co-operation to further expand its economic and trade network, improve financial services to boost financial connectivity, gather professional services to further leverage its wealth of talent, and deepen cultural exchanges to further promote people-to-people bonds.
Mr Lee supplemented that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government attaches great importance to regional co-operation. Since the full resumption of normal travel this year, he has led two business and professional delegations to visit the Middle East and three member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, exploring room for collaboration.
“We are making every effort to strive for early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and explore the signing of free trade agreements and investment agreements with more countries and economies.”
Noting that the summit is an important international business platform to promote Belt & Road co-operation, the Chief Executive said Hong Kong will continue to enhance its connectivity with the Mainland and the rest of the world, attract talent and nurture a diverse local talent pool, and make good use of its status as an international financial, trade and shipping centre.
The city will also leverage the advantages of its professional services that are in line with international standards, and consolidate its status as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre in the Asia-Pacific region.
Hong Kong will further develop itself into an international innovation and technology centre and an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange, promote education, science and technology, tourism, arts and youth exchanges, and enhance people-to-people bonds.
The ultimate purpose of the above efforts is to keep contributing to the promotion of the high-quality development of the Belt & Road Initiative, Mr Lee added.
At the summit, Financial Secretary Paul Chan gave welcome remarks at the keynote luncheon, while Secretary for Justice Paul Lam gave opening remarks at the thematic breakout session.
Additionally, the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan jointly announced today that the two places are going to mutually extend the visa-free period from 14 days to 30 days, with the implementation date to be separately announced.
The Hong Kong SAR Government also exchanged co-operation agreements with the Mainland on water quality management and meteorological science and technology as well as memoranda of understanding with Sri Lanka and the Emirate of Dubai respectively on environmental protection and financial services co-operation.
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