John Lee, the leader of Hong Kong, has embarked on a week-long journey to ASEAN countries with the aim of discovering new business prospects and garnering support for Hong Kong’s admission into the global free-trade pact. This initiative underlines Lee’s intent to capitalize on the significant potential within the ASEAN region to bolster Hong Kong’s trade and economic growth.
Speaking to local media ahead of his departure to Singapore, Lee shared his reasons for choosing ASEAN as the focus of his visit. He referred to the region as a trove of infinite business opportunities, highlighting ASEAN’s position as Hong Kong’s second-largest trading partner and the fifth-largest economy worldwide.
Lee stated, “With an impressive economic growth of 5.5% last year and an average growth rate of around 4% over the past decade, ASEAN’s development potential is immense.” He acknowledged the economic center’s shift towards the east, pointing out that Asia and ASEAN will be significant catalysts for economic development.
The Hong Kong leader expressed confidence in the solid foundation provided by the existing free trade agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN. His visit aims to promote Hong Kong, explore business opportunities within ASEAN, and harness the significant development potential of the ASEAN nations.
In addition to exploring business collaborations, the Hong Kong government is seeking support to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), comprised of 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including all 10 ASEAN nations. Lee believes that Hong Kong’s inclusion in RCEP could offer substantial benefits to its companies while contributing to the other member countries.
During his first day in Singapore, Lee met Sun Haiyan, the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Singapore. He highlighted Hong Kong’s commitment to enhancing business and cultural exchanges with Singapore and narrating Hong Kong’s success stories across ASEAN countries.
Acknowledging the robust bilateral trade relationship between Hong Kong and Singapore, Lee expressed his aspiration to fortify high-level connections with the Singaporean government during his visit. He noted that Singapore, as Hong Kong’s fourth-largest trading partner and its largest among the 10 ASEAN countries, holds significant strategic importance.
The visit includes a delegation comprising top officials and industry leaders from various sectors, including finance, investment, business, legal, innovation, and logistics. Lee’s itinerary also features meetings with government and business leaders in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The goal is to present Hong Kong’s unique advantage as a link between China and the world, encouraging ASEAN businesses to expand their operations to Hong Kong.
This news is based on a report from Marketing Interactive.