Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 51st terms of office) July 2019
CGCC will continue to support the Chief Executive and the HKSAR Government in its governance pursuant to the law. We will also continue to act as a bridge to contribute to the sustainable development of Hong Kong and ‘progress together’ with the country.
We have now entered the month of July, which marks the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong reunification with the Motherland. Looking back on the first half of the year, Hong Kong’s business environment and social stability have been impacted by a string of factors, from uncertainties in the global political and economic landscape and Sino-US trade friction, to the more recent debates and contestations over the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance amendments. At the same time, however, Hong Kong is benefiting from the vast new opportunities created by China’s deepened reform and opening up, especially the steadfast development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) and the “Belt and Road Initiative” (B&R). As a key member of the business community, CGCC is committed to helping the business sector capture regional co-operation opportunities under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, by capitalizing on our extensive network and strengthening our connections in the Mainland and international markets.
Unlimited business opportunities through regional co-operation
At the G20 Summit held in late June, President Xi Jinping announced that China is going to put forward various major measures, such as setting up new pilot free trade zones and reduce the overall tariff level, with a view to upholding multilateralism and further opening up the Chinese market.
Hong Kong’s unique edge will come into full play in the light of the new measures. Hong Kong is clearly positioned as a core city that will assume a leading role in promoting international finance, among other areas, in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area published early this year. The Greater Bay Area is indeed going to be a significant platform for promoting the development of B&R, and being an international financial hub and the world’s largest offshore RMB center, Hong Kong can provide the B&R countries and regions with world-class international asset management and risk management services.
At present, the Leading Group for the Development of the Greater Bay Area has already passed eight policy measures that offer Hong Kong and Macao residents greater convenience in working and residing in the Greater Bay Area. Han Zheng, Vice-Premier, revealed that 30 more measures will be implemented this year to further promote the mobility of people and the flow of goods and capital in the region. Last month, the Department of Finance of Guangdong Province and the Guangdong Provincial Tax Service announced the details regarding tax relief for overseas high-end talents and urgently needed talents working in the Greater Bay Area. The policy not only provides greater incentive for Hong Kong professionals to seek employment and start businesses in the Greater Bay Area; it also signifies an important step toward a “Hong Kong taxation for Hong Kong people” system in the Greater Bay Area, helping enterprises there including Hong Kong businesses to attract talents, thereby accelerating the transformation and development of the industries.
Turning challenges into opportunities
The decision to recommence trade negotiations by the presidents of China and the US at the G20 Summit is expected to alleviate the growing tension caused by trade friction between the two countries. At a meeting with the CGCC delegation to Beijing in May, Wang Yang, Chairman of CPPCC National Committee, said that despite the damage it has caused, Sino-US trade friction has driven innovation and economic restructuring in China. Thanks to the “one country, two systems” principle, Mainland and Hong Kong enterprises can go global hand in hand. Wang encouraged CGCC to capture all the opportunities available and help expedite Hong Kong’s integration into China’s development landscape.
In fact, the tireless effort of the HKSAR Government, led by Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, to promote Hong Kong’s involvement in the Greater Bay Area and B&R has provided extensive support for Hong Kong’s business community. The HKSAR Government has also endeavored to improve people’s livelihood and foster trade development through practical measures, such as the creation of a favorable business environment and the introduction of the two-tiered profits tax rates regime.
Meanwhile, CGCC has been actively building exchange platforms for Hong Kong, Mainland and overseas businesses by leveraging our network. In recent years, we have organized business forums focusing on the B&R and the Greater Bay Area in different parts of the world, and hosted the “CGCC World Chinese Entrepreneurs Summit” in Hong Kong for Mainland and Hong Kong officials, as well as Chinese entrepreneurs and business professionals from around the world to explore co-operation opportunities.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, whereas CGCC is celebrating its 120th anniversary next year. As the Greater Bay Area and the B&R become vital strategies in the new phase of reform and opening up, it is crucial to promote co-operation among the cities under the initiatives during these two years. CGCC will continue to support the Chief Executive and the HKSAR Government in its governance pursuant to the law. We will also continue to act as a bridge to unite our members and all social sectors. By keeping pace with reform and opening up and the regional co-operation framework, we vow to contribute to the sustainable development of Hong Kong and “progress together” with the country.