The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Mr Christopher Hui Ching-yu and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Yau Yinghua, met with Lao Foreign Minister Shalunxay, Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Ma Laitong, and Lao Minister of Finance Sandipa, during their visit to Laos today (11 October), with Lao Foreign Minister Shalunxay, Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Ma Laitong, and Lao Minister of Finance Sandipa, to discuss issues of common concern, including Hong Kong's recent relaxation of measures for Lao talents to work, train and study in Hong Kong, the co-operation space between the two places in financial and business services, and Hong Kong's bid to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).


The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Mr Christopher Koh Ching-yu (right) and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Albert Yau (left), held a bilateral meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Republic of China, Mr Salunxay (centre), in Vientiane, Laos, today to discuss issues of mutual concern. (Photo from Information Services Department)

Mr Koh said that in line with ASEAN's theme for the coming year, "ASEAN: Enhancing Connectivity and Resilience", Hong Kong attaches great importance to connectivity with the rest of the world and resilience to different challenges, and believes that there are huge opportunities for economic and financial cooperation with Laos. "As an international financial centre, our connectivity projects connect capital from the Mainland and international markets, and we continue to be the largest hedge fund hub and cross-border wealth management centre in Asia, as well as the world's largest offshore RMB business centre," he said.

Mr Hui reiterated that Hong Kong has always been known for its world-class financial infrastructure, and will continue to make good use of the country's positioning as an international financial centre under the 14th Five-Year Plan as a super-connector and super-value-added person, ready to provide various solutions to Laos and ASEAN to attract international capital to support their projects and development.

Mr Yau said, "Hong Kong is an international trade centre and a major investment and logistics hub in Asia, with a simple and low tax system, a well-established financial regulatory system and a mature legal system, as well as a friendly business environment. Coupled with the benefits of national development strategies such as the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the Belt and Road Initiative, we have become a bridge between the country and Asia and the world. With our unique advantages under 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong is an ideal gateway for the Lao business community to tap into the Greater Bay Area market and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative."

He continued, "We are committed to further strengthening our close ties with ASEAN. The continued strong growth in bilateral trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN member states is a testament to the solid foundation that the two sides have built over the years. In the first half of 12, Hong Kong's trade in goods with ASEAN member states increased by 1.840% year-on-year to US$<> billion. I call on ASEAN member states, including Laos, which will take over the chairmanship of ASEAN next year, to continue to support Hong Kong's accession to RCEP as soon as possible, so as to further demonstrate the openness, inclusiveness and multilateralism of RCEP."

"Hong Kong is an international trading centre and a major investment and logistics hub in Asia", with a simple and low tax system, a well-established financial regulatory system and a mature legal system, and a friendly business environment. Coupled with the benefits of national development strategies such as the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative, "we have become a bridge between the country and Asia and the world." With our unique advantages under 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong is an ideal gateway for the Lao business community to tap into the Greater Bay Area market and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative."

Hong Kong's bilateral trade with ASEAN member states continued to record strong growth, with trade in goods rising by 2022.12% year-on-year to US$1 billion in the first half of 840, and called on Laos to continue to support Hong Kong's early accession to the RCEP to further demonstrate the openness, inclusiveness and multilateralism of the RCEP.

Mr Hui Ching Yu and Mr Yau Ying Wah also met with representatives of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lao Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry respectively to learn more about the business environment in Laos and discuss business cooperation opportunities. With more than 4,000 members, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the most representative chamber of commerce in Laos. The Lao Chinese Entrepreneur Association is the country's first overseas Chinese chamber of commerce.

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