BRI to enhance SAR's superconnector role
13 Sep 2023


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council are jointly hosting the 8th edition of the Belt and Road Summit this week to discuss how to jointly promote high-quality development along the Belt and Road.


As a strategic gateway to the Belt and Road, Hong Kong - with its sound legal system, low tax regime, international connections and backing from the motherland - needs to seize the new opportunities therein, further embracing its role as a superconnector.


A recent World Bank report shows that the BRI has increased trade in participating economies by 4.1 percent, grown foreign investment by 5 percent, and increased the GDP of low-income countries by 3.4 percent.


Thanks to this initiative, the global share of GDP for emerging and developing economies has also increased by 3.6 percent. Under the BRI, numerous infrastructure projects such as railways, highways, ports, power facilities and industrial parks have been built in many countries in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, including the recently completed first high-speed rail in Southeast Asia, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail, which have promoted local economic growth and development.


As a proactive participant and contributor to the BRI, Hong Kong is poised to deepen its involvement and seize the wealth of opportunities it presents.


This year's Belt and Road Summit is casting a particular spotlight on the Middle East, with a special session dedicated to exploring the new opportunities, developments and cooperation that this region offers in the broader context of the BRI.


The Middle East market, with its robust economy and vast resources, has drawn increasing attention and interest. Strengthening ties with emerging economies like these has been a major goal of the HKSAR government. The hope is that Hong Kong's enterprises, armed with their expertise in law, logistics, accounting and finance, will make inroads into these lucrative markets, and, in turn, entice Middle East industries and funds into Hong Kong.


In fact, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu led a delegation to the Middle East in early February, and the visit, the first overseas trip of the year, ultimately led to the signing of 13 memorandums of understanding and agreements covering cooperation in trade, finance, energy, transportation, and innovation and technology, yielding fruitful results.


This shift presents a plethora of opportunities for Hong Kong enterprises. The Belt and Road Summit offers an ideal platform for both high-level governmental dialogue and business-to-business exchanges, a venue for discussing the prospects offered by the BRI, and for fostering substantive cooperation. This engagement will help consolidate Hong Kong's role as a commercial hub and afford it more Belt and Road opportunities.


Moreover, the BRI has seen the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The bank's aim is to promote interconnectivity and deepen cooperation in Asian finance, thereby enhancing the voice and influence of Asian finance in the international financial governance system.


Its significance rivals that of institutions such as the Asia Development Bank. As Hong Kong continues to cement its status as an international financial center, it must play a more active role in the AIIB, promoting the development of Asian finance.


On the 10th anniversary of the BRI, Hong Kong stands at a critical juncture. It is our duty to seize the opportunities presented by our strategic position and robust infrastructure. By leveraging its strengths and fostering substantive cooperation, Hong Kong can deepen its engagement and enhance its role as the superconnector. The future of the BRI is promising, and Hong Kong is ready to contribute to this grand vision.


Source: China Daily