Carrie Lam

Hong Kong eager to play bigger role in China’s further reform and opening up, Carrie Lam says

  • Chief executive says city was both contributor to and beneficiary of country’s transformation over past 40 years
  • Hong Kong is willing to share experience with emerging economies, Lam adds
PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 October, 2018, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 3:50pm

Hong Kong is eager to play a bigger role in China’s further reform and opening up and to share its experience in institution-building with emerging economies, the city’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said during a seminar on Monday.

The chief executive said the city had played a significant and unique role in the 40-year journey: “We are a contributor as well as a beneficiary in China's reform and opening up.”

“As a contributor, we shared our experience with the mainland and contributed to the rapid modernisation of the country in different aspects,” she continued.

Lam said a large number of Hong Kong businessmen and entrepreneurs had been the first to invest in the mainland, setting up production lines in the Pearl River Delta region and bringing with them capital, talent and management systems.

“We are proud of our contribution and are even more proud to witness the achievements of our country in the past 40 years,” she said.

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Lam was speaking at a seminar co-organised by the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong and the Better Hong Kong Foundation, titled “China’s 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up: Implications for the World and Role of Hong Kong”. The South China Morning Post is one of the organisations that support the event.

“Having served as our country's window to the world in the past 40 years, Hong Kong is a beneficiary of the country's reform and opening up,” Lam said. “The city has successfully transformed herself into an important bridge linking the mainland and the global market.”

Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin, former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, former Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing and former United States trade representative Charlene Barshefsky also delivered keynote addresses during the seminar held at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre.

“As our country continues to develop, Hong Kong is eager to play an even bigger role than before and make [a] contribution to the country and the world,” she said.

“To make economic development in the Asia-Pacific region more inclusive, we need to improve systems and institutions to uphold safety, equity, efficiency and justice,” Lam said.

“Hong Kong is more than willing to share our experience and help build capacity in emerging economies as part of Hong Kong's contribution to the promotion of people-to-people bonds in the global environment.”

The chief executive said Hong Kong had huge experience in urban planning and city management, such as new town planning, revitalisation of historic sites and flood prevention.

“We have also built institutions to fight against corruption, promote equal opportunities and deal with administrative complaints. We will be most pleased to share our experience with emerging economies,” she said.

Lam said the Independent Commission Against Corruption had been sharing its rich experience in fighting corruption in Hong Kong with countries and institutions along the belt and road to enhance their integrity. The “Belt and Road Initiative” refers to China’s global trade strategy.

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Xie Feng, the foreign ministry commissioner in Hong Kong, said reform and opening up had transformed China, ensured Hong Kong’s great success and benefited the world,

He said the first joint venture company in China was established by a Hong Kong company and the first five-star hotel in China was built by a Hong Kong consortium.

“Today Hong Kong remains the biggest source of foreign direct investment to China,” Xie said.

Former Japanese prime minister Hatoyama said he hoped his country would join the belt and road plan as soon as possible.

Former French prime minister Villepin said that while China had achieved huge success in the past four decades, it was facing challenges on various fronts.

He said China accounted for 30 per cent of greenhouse gases emitted around the world.