At the Belt and Road Working Group’s meeting on 14 February, Co-Convenor Nicholas Ho shared the takeaways from his trip to APEC Thailand in November and the recent Hong Kong mission to the Middle East. He said despite tensions between member economies, the APEC Thailand came to a successful conclusion as members signed a Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Agreement, reiterating the Asia-Pacific region’s commitment to sustainable growth.
On the mission to the Middle East led by the Chief Executive John Lee, Ho said Middle Eastern countries were eager to diversify their economies away from oil dependence and were proactively bringing in professional talent and services. There were ample opportunities in areas such as green finance, green bonds, family offices, bond and stock connect. He added that countries also displayed a strong urge to use Hong Kong as a platform to enter the GBA, which he saw as inseparable to the BRI. With the latter reaching its 10-year mark with over US$1 trillion invested in some 3,000 projects across 200 countries, he predicts BRI megaprojects will give way to smaller scale, but high-quality, ESG-driven, digital projects. This would also play to Hong Kong’s strengths with its state-of-the-art professional services sector.