Chairman's Message
Chairman's Message - The Business Sector As a Bridge for Regional Cooperation

Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 53rd terms of office) December 2022


In the new era, the Hong Kong business has the ability to take forward closer regional cooperation by means of citizen diplomacy. Leveraging its strong network, CGCC will promote Hong Kong to the world through the business language.


Last month, John Lee, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, with the goal of seeking early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for Hong Kong. I had the pleasure to join the Hong Kong business delegation he led to meet and exchange views with Thai business leaders. I believe that CGCC should capitalize on its extensive overseas network and work with the Hong Kong business sector to promote regional economic cooperation.


Actively seeking to join free trade agreements

The implementation of the RCEP is a significant milestone in the development of deeper economic cooperation in East Asia. Located in the heart of the RCEP network, and as a vital two-way platform for Chinese enterprises to go global and attract foreign investment, Hong Kong should seek to join the RCEP as soon as possible so that Mainland and Hong Kong businesses can further tap into the regional market. Hong Kong’s participation will also provide RCEP members with a springboard to explore the tremendous opportunities in the Mainland market, and those arising from the “Belt and Road” Initiative (B&R).


Given the rich experience of major Chinese state-owned enterprises and central state-owned enterprises in large-scale infrastructure investments under the B&R, and Hong Kong’s strengths in financial and professional services, Mainland and Hong Kong businesses will make invincible partners, with crucial roles to play in the overall economic development of East Asia.


Coming up, Hong Kong should look into joining other important free trade agreements, such as the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to ensure topmost international standards. Meanwhile, leveraging the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, Hong Kong should further promote the movement of its financial and professional services, I&T talents, and other resources within the Mainland, and tap the immense business opportunities in the ASEAN, RCEP and B&R markets.


Supporting the country’s high-level opening-up

The report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC offers support for Hong Kong to deepen cooperation with various countries and regions. In his important July 1 speech, President Xi Jinping also emphasized the full support of the Central government for Hong Kong to keep its business environment free, open, and regulated. The country’s support is essential for Hong Kong to consolidate its role as a bridge, create strong growth impetus, and enhance its competitiveness in an all-round manner.


The Hong Kong business sector at large should help facilitate the implementation of high standard rules and the open development of management system in the Mainland, while the high-end service sector can actively introduce overseas enterprises and capital into the country. Hong Kong should also enhance its role as an international financial center, and strengthen links between the Mainland and international financial markets. As the world’s largest offshore RMB hub, Hong Kong can help promote the internationalization of the RMB by creating more innovative products denominated in the currency. In light of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area’s industrial transformation and upgrading, the Hong Kong financial sector can also provide support to high-tech industries and I&T cooperation projects, so as to foster the development of advanced manufacturing industries.


In the new era, the Hong Kong business has the ability to take forward closer regional cooperation by means of citizen diplomacy. Leveraging its strong network, CGCC will support the efforts of the Central and HKSAR governments in pursuing regional economic development, and promote Hong Kong to the world through the business language. For instance, we will be organizing a delegation to Vietnam early next year to strengthen trade and business cooperation with the country. We will also step up our coordination efforts, and maintain close ties with business organizations in different countries and regions, as well as consulates and other chambers of commerce in Hong Kong, to jointly explore new win-win situations and opportunities.