Hong Kong hopes to bring US companies to the city and broaden its “network of friends,” finance minister Paul Chan has said during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco.
Escalating geopolitical tensions, high interest rates, and macroeconomic uncertainties had given rise to decreased risk appetite and cautious investment attitudes, Chan, who left for the US on Saturday, wrote in a Chinese-language blog post on Sunday.
“Faced with complex and uncertain future prospects, it is crucial for major economies to engage in more dialogue and exchanges, enhance understanding, manage differences, promote cooperation, and seek joint solutions for stability and economic development,” he said.
The finance chief said he had three objectives at the APEC forum: to demonstrate new opportunities in finance and tech in Hong Kong, to make “new friends” in the international community, and to introduce American companies to Hong Kong.
“We hope to introduce new opportunities in finance and innovative technology development in Hong Kong to government and business leaders from various economies,” he wrote. “We also aim to gain a better understanding of the development situations, strategies, and global economic changes and prospects of different economies.”
Chan said he intended to “expand Hong Kong’s network of friends” and establish a stronger foundation for cooperation.
“Making friends and fostering exchanges will help the international community better understand Hong Kong’s new advantages and potential as we enter a new stage ‘from stability to prosperity’,” he said.
“Thirdly, I plan to visit local businesses and meet with representatives from the business community to introduce Hong Kong’s excellent business environment, particularly in promoting finance, innovation and technology,” he continued.
Hong Kong has announced talent policies and incentives for firms to set up in the city, following an outflow of expats and foreign companies amid strict Covid-19 restrictions from and following the enforcement of a national security law in June 2020.
Last month, Chan said 30 “strategic enterprises” have been drawn to the city, nearly 80 per cent of which came from mainland China.
Hong Kong’s innovation chief has brushed aside fears that strained relations between China and the US would spill over into Hong Kong’s tech sector.
Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong said earlier that a US executive order to prohibit or restrict US investment in certain sensitive high tech sectors in China would have a “relatively limited” impact on Hong Kong’s tech development.
Chan on Sunday evening posed for a photograph with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who at the APEC forum said China and the US need “healthy economic relations” following meetings with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.
Speaking to reporters last week, Chan said he would not be meeting US politicians in San Francisco.
Chan’s attendance at the summit comes after the Hong Kong government confirmed earlier this month that Chief Executive John Lee had received a personal invitation but would not attend the summit over “scheduling issues.” Lee is among several Hong Kong and Chinese officials to have been hit by US sanctions over their crackdown on the 2019 protests and unrest in Hong Kong.
The US Department of State did not give HKFP a straight answer as to whether Lee had received a personal invite, despite reports the US had sought to bar him.
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