Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu speaks at the Abu Dhabi-Hong Kong Business Forum and Networking Luncheon hosted by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, Feb 7, 2023. (PHOTO / INFORMATION SERVICES DEPARTMENT, HKSAR)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative government made 15 achievements during its delegation’s six-day trip to the Middle East, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Tuesday.

The trip to the Middle East was “a journey to promote friendship, also a journey to promote the advantages of Hong Kong and a journey to create business opportunities,” Lee said ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting.

The Saudi Arabian government agreed to start an initial negotiation on the signing and promotion of investment pacts, he said. The HKSAR government had also signed 13 memoranda of understanding or letters of intent covering financial services, innovation and technology, commercial services, energy and transport, Lee added.

Different sectors in Hong Kong welcomed the trip, the chief executive said, quoting media reports that representatives of architects believed the visit was useful for architectural service companies to expand their business to the Middle East, while tourism and business sectors termed the trip helpful in bringing visitors to the city.

We must focus on economic development. The SAR government will continue to do our best in telling the good stories about Hong Kong on the mainland and around the world.

John Lee Ka-chiu, Chief Executive

Some sectors in the Middle East showed great interest in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and will invest in Hong Kong, said the CE.

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Pointing out that the government had promoted the city’s opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, he said that it was, for the government, to leverage the city’s advantage as a connector between the mainland and the world.

“We must focus on economic development. The SAR government will continue to do our best in telling the good stories about Hong Kong on the mainland and around the world,” he said.

Regarding the earthquake in Türkiye, the chief executive said the government had collected relief items worth HK$30 million ($3.82 million), ranging from blankets and medical equipment to medication and tents.

Local residents had also donated about 100 tonnes in relief aids, which were transported to Türkiye on Monday night, he added.

Extending his full support to the HKSAR search and rescue team working in Türkiye, he expressed his admiration for the team’s hard work to help with the rescue efforts and save four people.

He also urged non-government organizations to join the relief efforts.

READ MORE: CE: HKSAR rescue team to make every effort in Türkiye

Asked about reports that it was hard for private car drivers to travel to the mainland and that there were no vehicle inspection arrangement, the chief executive said the government will liaise with relevant parties to ensure a smooth implement of the arrangement and continue to explore the issue with the mainland authority.