Top officials from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland vowed on Friday to make concerted efforts to foster collaboration on policy exchanges and capacity building related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Policymakers highlighted their shared view in Beijing at the second Joint Conference on Advancing Hong Kong’s Full Participation in and Contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative.
The conference was convened by the the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government with the National Development and Reform Commission, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, and other ministries.
Hong Kong Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said that Hong Kong can assume an important role as a deal-maker and dispute-resolver within the BRI, given that Hong Kong is privileged to have a sound and robust legal system, and international arbitration and mediation legislation.
The Department of Justice will continue to promote Hong Kong’s dispute-resolution services to the countries and regions along the Belt and Road, leading to high-quality development of the BRI, Cheng said.
Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah, who arrived in Beijing on Thursday, pointed out that the HKSAR government will strengthen cooperation with mainland authorities on policy exchanges and capacity building.
Yau said the cooperation will focus on sharing, discussing and initiating interactive exchanges on the practices and experiences of Hong Kong related to finance, commerce, foreign-related legal matters, dispute resolution, city management, aviation and transportation, professional services, and anti-corruption efforts. Such collaboration will enhance the professionalism of both sides, he said.
This exchange program will take place once or twice a year in Hong Kong, and be led by a mainland Ministry Official at the Director General level, Yau said.
The HKSAR government also briefed the conference on progress made in the past year on implementing the six key areas covered in the “Arrangement between the NDRC and the HKSAR Government for Advancing Hong Kong’s Full Participation in and Contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative”.
The areas include finance and investment, infrastructure and maritime services, economic and trade facilitation, people-to-people bonds, moving forward the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development and enhancing collaboration in project interfacing and dispute resolution services.
Key progress of work includes the launching of the Green Bond Grant Scheme, signing of Free Trade Agreements and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with more trading partners, and expanding Hong Kong’s overseas Economic and Trade Office network as well as enhancement of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s Belt and Road Portal.