HONG KONG, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will further expand its market coverage to create more room for development for enterprises, according to the 2019-2020 budget delivered by the HKSAR government's financial chief on Wednesday.
Hong Kong will expand its market coverage by enlarging Free Trade Agreement (FTA) networks and seizing opportunities from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative.
The new annual budget was prepared against the backdrop of profound changes and heightened uncertainties in the global economic and business environment, the HKSAR government's Financial Secretary Paul Chan said, listing "supporting enterprises" as part of the direction of this year's budget.
Describing the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative as a "rare opportunity" for Hong Kong to expand market coverage, Chan said Hong Kong will seize the opportunity to give full play to its advantages as an international financial, trade, transportation and professional services center.
The Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area promulgated last week by the central government identifies Hong Kong as one of the four core cities in the Greater Bay Area as well as core engines for regional development, he said, adding that Hong Kong will strengthen its roles as a global offshore Renminbi business hub and an international asset and risk management center, and will devote great efforts to develop innovation and technology industries as well as international legal and dispute resolution services.
For the Belt and Road Initiative, the HKSAR government will continue to encourage the mainland and other Belt and Road economies to leverage on Hong Kong's strengths including professional services and talent, Chan said, adding that 150 million Hong Kong dollars (19.11 million U.S. dollars) will be provided to support a dispute resolution online platform that will benefit Hong Kong micro-enterprises and small and medium enterprises, as well as those in the Belt and Road economies.
To help Hong Kong businesses explore outside markets, the HKSAR government has continued to expand Hong Kong's FTA and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement networks, according to the budget.
"Our discussions with Britain on the proposals for closer economic ties are underway. We are exploring an FTA with the four members of the Pacific Alliance (namely Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). We also plan to seek accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership after completion of negotiations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and relevant economies," Chan said.
To expand its Economic and Trade Office (ETO) network for external promotion, the HKSAR government is "making good progress in negotiations with the United Arab Emirates government to set up the Dubai ETO" and "will also continue discussion with the governments of India, South Korea and Russia on the detailed arrangements for setting up ETOs in their territories."