About 6,000 business leaders from around the world attended the eighth edition of the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong that showcased the city’s unique advantages as a gateway for foreign investment and a facilitator for global expansion.
Jointly organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the two-day event held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre concluded on Thursday (September 14).
The eighth edition of the Belt and Road Summit, held on the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, assembled some 90 government officials and business leaders from over 70 countries and regions along the Belt and Road.
Supported by Mainland China and strong global network, the summit fostered connections with emerging markets and promoted the growth of emerging industries. This resulted in the signing of 21 memoranda of understanding that involved government bodies and companies from Hong Kong, Mainland China and ASEAN countries, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand. The event also provided young leaders and start-ups with an opportunity to participate and share BRI opportunities and successes.
The summit follows high-level and industry-specific missions to the Middle East this year, including a high-level delegation led by Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive John Lee that visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The summit's first session, Policy Dialogue, hosted by Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong SAR, invited top speakers to share their insights, focused on enhancing cooperation to promote investments, financial services and development solutions between Belt and Road countries and the Middle East.
Speaking on the topic of Tapping into the Potential of the Middle East, Rania A Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt, said: "Egypt and Mainland China have cooperated on trade infrastructure for a long time. The mainland has invested extensively in port and industrial-park infrastructure in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, including in manufacturing and technology projects. There is a fundamental overhaul in sustainable infrastructure and the global value chain, with developments in such areas as bunkering and logistics."
Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy of the UAE, said: "We want to switch ourselves from a linear to a circular economy, continually re-cycling resources," Mr Al Marri said. One scheme the country was working on was "fry to fly," where an industrial plant converted used cooking oil into aviation fuel. As with Hong Kong, both tourism and aviation were vital for the UAE, he said. Each sector accounted for 14% of UAE's GDP so it was vital to ensure both became sustainable. As with Hong Kong and its membership of the Greater Bay Area, the UAE was developing manufacturing in the Middle East, planning industrial corridors with Bahrain and Jordan."
The Middle East Forum made its debut on day 2 (September 14) of the summit, to reinforce the synergy of the BRI. A business session, featuring the Business and Investment Outlook in the Middle East Market, hosted by Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties Limited, invited business leaders to analyse Middle Eastern market trade and investment prospects and further strengthen connections between Hong Kong and Middle Eastern countries.
The hybrid business matching and project pitching sessions at the summit remained popular among project owners and participants. More than 280 investment projects from the Belt and Road region and beyond were presented.
The new Youth Chapter invited young business leaders and start-ups to share their insights on exploring and seizing Belt and Road opportunities. -TradeArabia News Service