Conference highlights ASEAN’s importance to Hong Kong

22/12/2018    107

The two-day Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference, which ended on Wednesday in Hong Kong, drew the participation 70 speakers from the logistics and maritime sectors and 2000 industry professionals from 30 countries. 

The logistics and maritime industries are an important part of Hong Kong’s remarkable economic development. 

The conference was jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong government. The city’s location in Asia makes the city a global logistics centre which is integral to business opportunities arising from China’s Belt and Road Initiative.  

“This year’s conference comes at a critical time as the industry faces growing opportunities alongside significant challenges. Regional collaborations include the free trade agreement [FTA] between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN], the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Margaret Fong, executive director of Hong Kong Trade and Development Council.  

Hong Kong is the busiest air cargo hub in the world and one of the busiest seaports, offering a full spectrum of logistics, shipping, financial and professional service. ASEAN is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner. 

“We signed a free trade agreement and related investment agreement one year ago this month, which will begin to take effect in January next year and will surely boost our trade, our investment and our overall connectivity. I am sure the Secretary-General of ASEAN will agree with me when I say that relations between ASEAN and Hong Kong have never been better, never more promising than they are now, “ Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor, the city’s leader, said. 

“The agreements show that Hong Kong and the 10 member states of ASEAN believe in free trade, and in the mutual rewards trade and logistics can bring to our economies, our companies and our peoples,” she added. The conference featured three sector-specific forums covering supply-chain management and logistics, air freight, and maritime. This year also saw the introduction of a tech dialogue a new session providing an overview of the latest technology trends that are reshaping in the industry. 

The city in southern China has been active in stepping up its engagement with ASEAN and Myanmar and promoting Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. Myanmar's education ministry last month signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong’s Education Bureau on strengthening cooperation. Specifically, Hong Kong launched the Belt and Road Scholarship to enable Myanmar students to pursue undergraduate studies in the city starting with the 2019-20 academic year. Carrie Lam paid a historic visit to Myanmar last September, when the two places vowed to work on tourism, education, trade and investment.

Since October 1, tourists from Hong Kong, Macau, Japan and South Korea have been able to visit Myanmar visa-free, while mainland Chinese tourists are been offered visas on arrival.

Source: Myanmar Times