Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Gregory So
Hong Kong has long been ranked the world’s freest economy by the Heritage Foundation. We have kept the trophy for two more years, now 22 years in a row. Hong Kong is one of the most competitive economies in the world. This year we climbed up to the top of the list, and became the most competitive economy in the world in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016.
I want to share with you the hottest acronym in town these days, BAR, which stands for Belt & Road. "Belt" refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt, and "Road" refers to the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
This grand strategy encourages closer economic as well as cultural co-operation among 60-plus economies, particularly those emerging economies spanning Asia, Europe and Africa. The Belt & Road covers various aspects and proposes co-operation in many sectors, in particular, in terms of enhancing policy co-ordination, strengthening infrastructural facilities connectivity, facilitating unimpeded trade and investment, deepening financial integration and building people-to-people bonds.
But fundamentally, the Belt & Road is about making connections. And I am proud to say that facilitating connections is also what Hong Kong is good at. Just look at this conference today. We have participants from Germany, Mainland China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other parts of the world. I am sure that with this two-day conference, especially after the reception hosted by our government tonight, all of us are well connected.
German businesses also have great potential to reap the opportunities under the Belt & Road. With Hong Kong's unique advantages under "one country, two systems", our strong financial services, professional services, logistics and trade sectors, as well as our tremendous experience and expertise in doing business in the region, Hong Kong is the natural and perfect partner for German businesses to expand in the Asia-Pacific region.
Hong Kong has long-established ties and friendship with Germany. Germany is our largest trading partner in the European Union. You can easily find a lot of German products in Hong Kong. German engineering businesses support massive infrastructure development that is ongoing in our city.
Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Gregory So made these remarks at the 15th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business on November 4.