Oswald Chan in Hong Kong
Hong Kong may face short-term challenges due to the uncertainty shrouding the global economy, but the future looks bright, thanks to the continuing and wide-ranging support of the country and the "one country, two systems" principle, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said. The chief executive made the remarks on Wednesday at the opening of the two-day 2023 Asian Financial Forum, organized by the HKSAR government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, with participants from more than 70 countries and regions attending in the form of 20 international delegations. This year's Asian Financial Forum has invited more than 100 global business leaders, policymakers, financial and wealth management professionals, entrepreneurs, technology innovators and economists to share their insights on international finance and economy, trade, sustainability and other issues. There are more than 2,000 in-person participants, with 3,000 others attending the event online. Lee cited the International Monetary Fund's data that global economic growth is likely to slow from 3.2 percent last year to 2.7 percent this year, with outlook fraught with uncertainty. That external uncertainty will weigh on Hong Kong this year as the city is a small, open and free economy which relies heavily on external trade and investment. "Thanks to the continuing and wide-ranging support of our motherland, Hong Kong's strengths as an international financial center linking the mainland and the rest of the world are primed to proliferate," Lee said. The chief executive also said the city is actively enhancing its strengths as an international financial center, a global offshore renminbi hub and an international asset management and risk management center, under the clear direction of the 14th Five-Year (2021-25) Plan. The city also strives to continue expanding the mutual access between the financial markets of the mainland and Hong Kong. "Thanks to our 'one country, two systems' principle, Hong Kong is blessed with a wealth of prospects, in financial services, in trade and logistics, in innovation and technology, in arts and culture, and much more. So many good stories to tell. So many opportunities to realize," Lee said. READ MORE: HK residents excited to resume dual-city life as border reopens HKTDC Chairman Peter Lam Kin-ngok told the forum: "We need to revitalize and transform so that we will be better equipped to withstand any crises in the future. Global cooperation has become more important than ever and our collective aim is to stimulate growth." The forum included a plenary session focusing on how global cooperation can be strengthened to tackle challenges ranging from the COVID aftermath to supply chain crises, from geopolitical conflicts to soaring costs of living. "By keeping inflation low and stable, we could create an environment that encourages firms and households to do their businesses, promote productive activities and foster innovations," said Zhang Tao, chief representative of the Bank for International Settlements' Representative Office for Asia and the Pacific.