Focus on finance, technology and sustainability
A delegation of business leaders from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), led by the city’s Chief Executive and principal officials and organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), is in the UAE this week to strengthen existing business ties and develop new areas of collaboration in technology, sustainability, smart city development in addition to traditional sectors of finance and trade.
With Hong Kong’s unrivalled access to China and Asia and the UAE’s role as a gateway to the GCC and European markets, the relationship between the two commercial centres is already providing important benefits to a range of businesses. The arrival of the high-level business delegation which comprises senior executives from Hong Kong’s financial institutions, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the city’s financial regulator, as well as major players in technology and innovation, sustainability, and smart city solutions, will help accelerate the commercial ties between HKSAR and the Emirates and support the strategic development of the UAE, Hong Kong and mainland China.
The important strategic relationships which exist between China and the UAE are based on a shared backing for liberal trade policies, investment in cutting-edge technology, low tax regimes and backing for pro-business regulation.
A press conference was held on February 8, 2023 in Dubai, which was followed by a business forum and dinner in the presence of His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chambers and His Excellency Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai International Chambers.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Mr John Lee, said: “The UAE, is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner in the Middle East region. We treasure this longstanding relationship, and I believe that we can now take it to a higher level. That’s why I’m here, together with these business leaders from Hong Kong – some 30 strong – to tell you that our business and investment doors are wide open and welcoming for UAE companies and investors. For a world of opportunities.”
“The commercial and political ties between Hong Kong and the UAE are growing ever stronger. It is clear we both approach business in the same way, backing innovation, investing in technology and looking for sustainable solutions. This business mission to the UAE shows the depth of existing commercial relationships and the potential to do a lot more.”
In response, His Excellency Dr Thani Al-Zeyoudi stressed the strength and durability of the strategic relations between the United Arab Emirates and the People’s Republic of China, which are witnessing continuous development especially in the areas of economics and trade. The forward-looking and visionary leadership of the two countries is building a strong relationship, opening up new opportunities and broadening bilateral economic cooperation.
His Excellency added: “Strengthening investment and trade partnerships with Hong Kong supports the strategic cooperation between the UAE and China, and contributes to opening new business fields, stimulating communication between the Emirati-Chinese business communities, especially in light of new economic opportunities”.
His Excellency continued: “The value of foreign trade between the UAE and Hong Kong amounted to about 32 billion dirhams (8.7 billion US dollars) during the first 9 months of 2022, achieving a growth of 36% compared to the same period in 2021, while Hong Kong was among the top 10 trading partners for the UAE during 2021, with a contribution of more than 2% of the UAE’s total non-oil trade. His Excellency indicated that the forum represents an important step in supporting increased trade and enhancing prospects for bilateral cooperation in a wide range of sectors, especially shipping, logistics, the service sector and air transport. It maximises benefits for Emirati companies and their counterparts in Hong Kong.
Dr Peter KN Lam, Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, mentioned in his opening remarks that “Dubai and Hong Kong are natural partners when it comes to creating business opportunities. The signing of three *MOUs at our event tonight shows the tremendous potential for deeper collaboration. Creating business opportunities has been the work of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for over 55 years, and I am pleased to be part of these exciting times.”
Representing the business community in Dubai, His Excellency Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chambers, commented: “I am proud to say that the UAE is the largest trading partner for Hong Kong in the Middle East. Non-oil trade between the UAE and Hong Kong reached AED22.2 billion in the first half of 2022, registering 16.2% growth compared to the first half of 2021. With the presence of our new international office in Hong Kong, I look forward to seeing continued collaboration with our Hong Kong counterparts and seeing the relationship between our countries thrive and prosper even more.”
In the trade delegation, the Chief Executive Mr John Lee is joined by three principal officials: Deputy Secretary of Justice Mr Horace Cheung, Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury Mr Christopher Hui, and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Mr Algernon Yau.
Other business leaders from Hong Kong and the Emirates also exchanged views at a panel discussion yesterday. Chaired by Mr Algernon Yau Ying Wah, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, panel speakers included Mr Nicolas Aguzin, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, Dr Sunny Chai, Chairman, Federation of Hong Kong Industries and Chairman, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation, Mr Horace Cheung Kwok Kwan, Hong Kong’s Deputy Secretary for Justice, and H.E. Hussain Al Mahmoudi, Chief Executive Officer, Sharjah Research, Technology & Innovation Park (SRTIP) and H.E. Faisal Juma Khalfan Belhoul, Vice Chairman, Dubai International Chamber.
*3 MOUs signed between:
- Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Dubai Chamber
- Ho & Partners Architects, Negawatt, Masdar City, and The Catalyst
- Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park