Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday pledged to grant greater market access for investment from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Li also said the country would welcome people from the three places to study, work and enjoy living on the mainland. His remarks were welcomed by Hong Kong’s business sector, which noted that the mainland had been opening up to city investors but hoped more could be done. Speaking at the Boao Forum in Hainan province, Li said investors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were set to enjoy more national development opportunities. We will further relax market access for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan investment, in the sectors of finance, professional services and high-end manufacturing industries Premier Li Keqiang “We will further relax market access for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan investment, in the sectors of finance, professional services and high-end manufacturing industries,” Li said. “We will keep rolling out policies facilitating the flow of people between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau ... and keep improving the environment for people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to invest, work, study and live [on the mainland], to allow them to better enjoy the good national development opportunities.” Chinese premier talks up economy as US trade talks resume Witman Hung Wai-man, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, welcomed Li’s remarks and said he hoped the changes could be rolled out as soon as possible, saying the business sector had been calling for further relaxation of restrictions on local investors across the border for almost a decade. Greater Bay Area can rival Silicon Valley and Wall Street, Carrie Lam says For example, he said, Hong Kong lawyers can practise on the mainland if they get certain qualifications, but they cannot be a firm’s managing partner, and their total shares cannot exceed those of mainlanders. “I hope, and believe, all such restrictions could be lifted, especially in the ‘Greater Bay Area’,” Hung said, referring to the national development plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and nine Guangdong cities into an innovation and technology hub. Another NPC deputy, Maggie Chan Man-ki, noted that Hong Kong lawyers currently are not allowed to represent mainland clients in criminal cases. She added that she hoped the restriction could be lifted. “As the country is further opening up, Hong Kong professionals could contribute much by helping the national system to connect to the international one,” Chan, a solicitor, said. And Michael Tien Puk-sun, an NPC deputy and a Hong Kong legislator, said it would be generous if Li meant Hong Kong investments could access not only the Greater Bay Area but the whole country. “It would be very welcome if Hong Kong investors could solely own a company on the mainland,” he said. “Many local businessmen do not want to co-own a company with mainlanders, as disputes are likely.” It would be very welcome if Hong Kong investors could solely own a company on the mainland. Many local businessmen do not want to co-own a company with mainlanders, as disputes are likely Michael Tien, NPC deputy and Hong Kong legislator Li Xiaobing, an associate professor of the law school at Nankai University, in Tianjin, said he believed Beijing had a full view of governance in Hong Kong, 22 years on from the city’s return from British rule. Taking into account the lessons of 2014’s pro-democracy Occupy protests and the setback to its policy of national education, the academic said, Beijing realised that a new route had to be taken. “We have to strongly support the city’s integration into national development, to build a much deeper-rooted connection between Hong Kong and the mainland in economic and livelihood sectors,” he said. He added that he believed such a connection would promote synchronicity in the political field, and benefit both the country and the city. Premier Li’s strong words on Thursday came as he confirmed that support to investors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan would not change after the legislation of China’s foreign investment law, which the national legislature approved two weeks ago. The new law, set to come into effect on January 1, 2020, is intended to level the playing field for overseas investors and reassure the global community that China remains an attractive investment destination, by tweaking the rules around things such as market access and forced technology transfers. Businesspeople in Hong Kong had raised concerns that the new law – whose draft did not mention Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan – would not apply to the city, depriving them of its benefits. Li reiterated on Thursday that Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan would fall under the updated law, adding that this did not mean they were not a part of China. “Our country’s compatriots can enjoy, on our own soil, more development opportunities,” he said.