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Belt-Road office to be enlarged

January 18, 2017

The Government will expand the Belt & Road Office to take forward its work under the Belt & Road Initiative on a long-term basis.


Delivering his 2017 Policy Address today, Chief Executive CY Leung said he will create directorate posts and other permanent positions in the office.


"The Government continues to fully support the Belt & Road Initiative. Leveraging 'one country, two systems' and other advantages, we strive to give full play to Hong Kong’s role as a super-connector and act in concert with the strategy of our country and Mainland enterprises to go global, thereby creating opportunities for our young people and boosting our social and economic development in the coming decades.


"Last year I appointed the Commissioner for Belt & Road to take charge of the Belt & Road Office to provide recommendations and advice on formulating and implementing strategies relating to the Belt & Road Initiative, and to liaise with government bureaus and departments as well as various sectors of the community to further tap new opportunities for Hong Kong under the initiative.


"The Government has reviewed the work and setup of the Belt & Road Office and considers it necessary to beef up the office's establishment and resources, including the creation of directorate posts and other permanent posts, to ensure it can take forward the work under the Belt & Road initiative more effectively and on a long-term basis."


The Government will organise with the Trade Development Council another Belt & Road Summit in September this year. The council will also continue to include Belt & Road sessions in its seminars and expos.


In May the Central Government will host the Belt & Road Forum for International Co-operation in Beijing, the highest-level forum since the introduction of the Belt & Road Initiative, to highlight its achievements. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will take part in the forum.


Mr Leung said the HKSAR Government is also prepared to organise talks or short-term training on the operation of the HKSAR Government for visiting officials from Belt & Road countries to enhance co-operation.


The Government will consider relaxing visa requirements for nationals of Belt-Road countries for employment, study and visit.


"We have reached a consensus with Belarus on mutual visa exemption and are planning to relax visa requirements for Cambodian nationals.


"The Government will continue to promote co-operation and exchanges in education to help Hong Kong students gain a better understanding of the countries along the Belt & Road, thereby strengthening people-to-people bonds."


New initiatives include updating or fine-tuning primary and secondary school curricula and producing appropriate teaching resources, providing students with more opportunities to study foreign languages, increasing the quotas to 5,600 for student Mainland exchange programmes along the Silk Road this year, and encouraging, through the Quality Education Fund, students to engage in exchange activities in the Mainland and countries along the Belt-Road.


"The Government set up the Hong Kong Scholarship for 'Belt & Road' Students (Indonesia) this academic year. In the next academic year there will be two Belt & Road scholarships funded by private donations for students from Malaysia and Thailand.


"For youth exchanges, the Home Affairs Bureau and the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education launched the Funding Scheme for Exchange in Belt & Road Countries on a trial basis last year. The scheme aims to provide support for local young people to participate in exchange activities in the Belt-Road countries."