Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, gives an interview to China Daily on March 4, 2023. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong not only provides a strong catalytic force in promoting global finance and trade, but also plays an important role in bridging people-to-people relationships in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
In an interview with China Daily as the first session of the 14th CPPCC began in Beijing on Saturday, he said the special administrative region’s capabilities in offshore trade are good catalysts for the country’s development.
In professional and shipping services, the SAR, as an international shipping service center, helps the nation’s entire shipping and transportation industry, just like in financial services
Hong Kong sells most of the goods that are not manufactured in the city and buys most of the products that are not used locally, he said. “We do a lot of offshore trading, for example, we are manufacturing products on the Chinese mainland that can be sold through Hong Kong to bigger and better markets for better terms and prices.”
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“Similarly, the mainland’s needs could be met by Hong Kong importing goods for the mainland at better prices and terms. So, that is just one role Hong Kong can play.”
In professional and shipping services, the SAR, as an international shipping service center, helps the nation’s entire shipping and transportation industry, just like in financial services, said Leung. “Hong Kong is just one of the hundreds of cities in the country, and is a relatively small city. But, these are the roles we can play as a city with a 7.3-million population in a nation of 1.4 billion people.”
Hong Kong’s capabilities are not confined to just catalyzing economic activities. It also helps in promoting structural development activities in the country.
In Leung’s view, Hong Kong can play an important people-to-people bonding role in the Belt and Road Initiative.
“People-to-people connectivity is the foundation of everything. Without people-to-people connectivity and without people-to-people understanding, I do not think we can talk about other forms of connectivity,” he stressed.
“Hong Kong, as an open and international society, benefits in terms of global connections, as well as all the systems it practices, compared to the systems being practiced on the mainland,” Leung said. “I think we can actually reach out to foster the aims of the Belt and Road Initiative.”
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He cited GX Foundation Company — a non-governmental organization founded in the SAR, set up on Hong Kong terms and that adopts Hong Kong laws – as an example in promoting people-to-people connectivity, especially in international humanitarian medical aid. The NGO has signed memoranda of understanding with five countries in Southeast Asia and Africa to commence international humanitarian medical aid work.
“The Belt and Road Initiative is not only concerned with infrastructure and trade activities, but also people-to-people connectivity. Hong Kong is good at both financial services and trade activities. We are also good at promoting people relationships,” Leung said.