The mainland’s first free-trade zone to be opened in Shanghai would not threaten Hong Kong’s position as a financial hub, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Friday.
Leung commented on the impact of the landmark plan at the end of his visit to the central mainland city of Chongqing.
Some business leaders and economists in Hong Kong have expressed concerns that Shanghai’s free-trade area will draw foreign capital away from Hong Kong and hit its economy.
The State Council in August announced its plan to launch the mainland’s first free-trade zone in the Pudong area of Shanghai. Set to open on Sunday, it will offer freer yuan convertibility and more liberalised foreign exchange and interest rate systems.
Leung said Hong Kong would continue to thrive as it had its own edges.
“Hong Kong is a hub for top-notch financial professionals from both China and overseas. It also has sound supporting professionals in the legal and accounting sectors,” he said.
“And one of the most important factors is Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he said.
The chief executive also said that Hong Kong had managed to restructure its economy to its benefit when posed with challenges from a China that had undergone dramatic reform over the past three decades.
He said the Shanghai free-trade zone was part of this opening-up process and would offer Hong Kong opportunities.
Leung concluded his two-day trip to Chongqing on Friday. He led a delegation of Hong Kong businessmen to meet local government officials and business leaders for talks about boosting economic ties.