HONG KONG, Nov 2, 2022 – (ACN Newswire via SEAPRWire.com) – To strengthen the longstanding economic and trade relationship between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom (UK), a virtual dialogue with the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr John Lee, was held to engage with the business community in the UK on 2 November, hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

Margaret Fong, HKTDC Executive Director; Dr Peter KN Lam, HKTDC Chairman; John Lee, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Peter Burnett, Immediate Past Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong [L-R]

Moderated by the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong Immediate Past Chairman, Mr Peter Burnett, the dialogue served as a unique opportunity for UK businesses to interact with the HKSAR Chief Executive and hear first-hand updates on the latest policy initiatives to strengthen Hong Kong and new opportunities for the international business community, just weeks after the Chief Executive delivered his first Policy Address.

In his opening address, Mr. Lee underlined Hong Kong’s established strengths and arising opportunities, and what the city can offer to help UK and international businesses take off or expand in Asia. He highlighted the longstanding and enduring business ties between Hong Kong and the UK, “thanks not just to our friendship, but also, very importantly, to our common law legal system, the rule of law and our independent judicial power. Thanks also to our strong support and beliefs for free trade and our strong footholds in professional services”.

The Chief Executive remarked that the UK is Hong Kong’s top trading partner in Europe, while Hong Kong is the UK’s second-largest trading partner in Asia. Merchandise trade between the two places in 2021 totalled US$ 17.7 billion, up more than 25% year-on-year.

He added that in 2021, more than GBP7 billion merchandise trade between the UK and Mainland China was routed through Hong Kong. “That speaks, loud and clear, of Hong Kong’s unique status as the business gateway connecting China with the rest of the world. This enviable role is guaranteed through one country, two systems,” he said.

While COVID-19 has impacted growth in Hong Kong, Mr Lee stated “it is the economy amidst challenges posed by the pandemic we are planning for now”. He emphasised Hong Kong’s long-term growth in the national strategies, which include the Belt and Road Initiative, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and 14th Five-Year Plan. He mentioned HKTDC’s ongoing work to set up GoGBA Business Support Centres covering all nine GBA cities in Mainland China to offer business information in both English and Chinese available to all.

In his opening remarks, HKTDC Chairman Dr Peter Lam said: “One huge opportunity is the vast Mainland China market, with a focus on the southern part of the country, known as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). It boasts a market of 86 million with a GDP of US$ 1.74 trillion, comparable to that of South Korea and Canada. ASEAN has been a key focus for many international companies. It offers even greater prospects, as new trade cooperation agreements, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), come into operation. To capitalise on the many opportunities, Hong Kong is your ideal springboard”.

The Chief Executive also fielded questions from the UK business community, covering a range of topics, including easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Hong Kong’s economic outlook, closer government-business cooperation, talent attraction and more. He underscored the importance of innovation and technology (I&T) to Hong Kong’s future, the Northern Metropolis and plans to welcome at least 35,000 targeted professionals to Hong Kong each year.

The event attracted more than 600 business leaders, with the majority from the UK. This followed a trip to the UK by Dr Lam and Ms Margaret Fong, HKTDC Executive Director, in October to meet UK business leaders, as part of the HKTDC’s initiative to promote business opportunities in Hong Kong to the global business community.

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About HKTDC

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn.

Media enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC’s Communications and Public Affairs Department:
Sunny Ng, Tel: +852 2584 2357, Email: sunny.sl.ng@hktdc.org
Clementine Cheung, Tel: +852 2584 4514, Email: clementine.hm.cheung@hktdc.org

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Last modified: November 2, 2022