The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, gave an upbeat assessment of Hong Kong’s prospects in the emerging global trade order during a major Asia House conference in the city.
In an expansive keynote speech, Mrs Lam emphasised the growing importance of ASEAN, the general rise of Asia in the global economy, and the areas her administration is focusing on in Hong Kong, including major infrastructure projects.
“This is an auspicious year for Hong Kong as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” Mrs Lam said.
“Over the last 20 years we have seen increasing economic integration with the mainland of China. This has brought, and will continue to bring, heightened opportunities to us. This is also a special year for Hong Kong and ASEAN, especially in the context of a more progressive strategy to strengthen Hong Kong’s relationship with South East Asia.”
Mrs Lam has visited four ASEAN countries since taking office, and has overseen the successful conclusion of the ASEAN-Hong-Kong FTA earlier in November.
“The ASEAN perspectives are becoming increasingly important for practical reasons,” Mrs Lam said. “For the past 25 years or so, Asia’s economy has grown by 6% a year. As a result, the world economy, at least in terms of GDP, is shifting east and south at an extraordinary speed.”
Mrs Lam highlighted Hong Kong’s connectivity as its major strength, and outlined a number of projects planned to ensure Hong Kong becomes Asia’s “hyperconnected world city.”
“Within the next 12 to 18 months we will commission three major pieces of cross boundary infrastructure, which will significantly transform our links with the mainland and beyond, and accelerate the flow of goods and people, capital and information,” the Chief Executive said.
The three projects are the conclusion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai–Macau bridge, which will cut travel time between Macau and Hong Kong airport from 4 hours to 45 minutes; the 26km extension to the express rail link; and a new border crossing to enhance connections between Hong Kong and the mainland.
Mrs Lam was speaking at the Asia House conference, Asia Trade in the New Global Order, which took place at the JW Marriott, Hong Kong, on 27 November.
“My thanks to Asia House for bringing this prestigious event to Hong Kong,” she added.
The conference is available to watch here.