Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 51st terms of office) June 2019
Chairman Wang Yang believed that the trade friction inevitably has an impact on economic and trade investment flows, but it will also help drive innovation and economic transformation in China.
The escalating Sino-US trade friction has led to a lot of uncertainties for global economy trade and investment. When meeting with CGCC’s delegation to Beijing, CPPCC National Committee Chairman Wang Yang stressed that the Hong Kong business community had to stay vigilant for extended trade friction between China and the US. He urged us to have confidence in our country and actively integrate into its overall development to capture new opportunities from regional cooperation, such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) and the “Belt and Road Initiative” (B&R). He also called on CGCC to lead its members to remain resolute in keeping pace with the country’s development to cope with external challenges and explore business opportunities together.
Persist in multilateral cooperation
Hong Kong’s exports and imports have been falling for several months due to the Sino-US trade friction. In addition, as announced earlier, Hong Kong’s economic growth slowed to a near-decade low in the first quarter of the year, reflecting the pressure on the overall local business environment.
Mainland China and the US are Hong Kong’s two most important trading partners, and Hong Kong is the most important entrepôt for Sino-US trade, so the mutual tariffs between the two countries will inevitably bring adjustments to Hong Kong’s imports and exports. Furthermore, many Hong Kong businesses have factories on the Mainland where they ship goods directly to the US, so their production operations are also hit by the trade friction.
Last month, I led CGCC’s Committee Members to Beijing to meet with CPPCC National Committee Chairman Wang Yang and officials from several central ministries to express our concern about Sino-US trade affairs. I strongly resonate with Chairman Wang’s response. He believed that the trade friction inevitably has an impact on economic and trade investment flows, but it will also help drive innovation and economic transformation in China. Chairman Wang made it clear that unilateralism and protectionism will only have a lose-lose outcome and only multilateral cooperation can serve the interests of global development. China will continue with reform and opening up steadfastly to create more favorable conditions for Mainland and Hong Kong enterprises to go global.
Leverage Hong Kong’s strengths
Chairman Wang mentioned that the “one country, two systems” principle can best serve the interests of both Hong Kong and the country. He hoped that Hong Kong will leverage its international network and professional strengths to play a key bridging role to link the Mainland and international markets for mutually beneficial and all-win results, so that Hong Kong and Mainland can develop and prosper together.
While Sino-US trade issues have undoubtedly led to global economic and trade uncertainties, promotion of Greater Bay Area and B&R will bring new development opportunities for the country and Hong Kong. They will also further consolidate Hong Kong’s unique strengths. Hong Kong is a leading global player in many areas. It also has extensive overseas connections and a well-established rule-of-law environment. Therefore, it can fully play the role as a connector, investor and operator to step up cooperation with Mainland enterprises and attract more overseas investors to participate in the Greater Bay Area development. The country has recently rolled out several measures to facilitate Hong Kong people traveling to and from the Greater Bay Area to live and work, which will lead to seamless, integrated flow of people, goods, capital and information within the area.
Make best use of CGCC’s networks
Chairman Wang gave high praise to CGCC for being an important beacon of patriotism, loving both the country and Hong Kong. He also encouraged us to capture key opportunities from the Greater Bay Area and the B&R to help expedite Hong Kong’s integration into the country’s development landscape.
In fact, CGCC has always been committed to serving Hong Kong, the Mainland and Chinese entrepreneurs around the world, striving to build platforms for interaction and cooperation among industrial and commercial enterprises. As the country embarks on a new phase of reform and opening up, we will continue to leverage our business network advantage and actively support the HKSAR Government in its governance pursuant to law so that the “one country, two systems” principle can be fully implemented and Hong Kong’s unique strengths can be further enhanced and deepened. We will also join hands with all business and social sectors to cope with challenges, and proactively keep pace with the country’s development, while embodying the spirit of “the more Hong Kong is successful, the better it is for our entire country; and the better our country moves forward, the more prosperous we can even become”.