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Hong Kong’s John Lee talks new ventures with deputy prime minister of Singapore, China News

Hong Kong’s John Lee talks new ventures with deputy prime minister of Singapore, China News

Chief Executive John Lee Ka Chiu has told the visiting deputy prime minister of Singapore that Hong Kong will explore more opportunities for collaboration with the city state, as both sides reaffirmed the “good momentum” of their long-standing partnership.

Lee made the remarks on Monday (Aug 29) when he met Heng Swee Keat, who is in Hong Kong for a four-day work visit to further strengthen co-operation between the two places.

Heng, who also serves as Singapore’s coordinating minister for economic policies, is expected to participate in a panel discussion at the Belt and Road Summit to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday.

The deputy prime minister was also likely to meet business contacts on Tuesday and could also call on former chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor, according to a source.

During Monday’s meeting, Lee stressed that Hong Kong had a close relationship with Singapore, the city’s fourth largest trading partner.

Bilateral trade between the two places in 2021 amid the Covid-19 pandemic amounted to more than HK$483 billion (S$86 billion), up nearly 30 per cent from 2020.

Lee told Heng that Hong Kong would continue to bring its strengths under the “one country, two systems” governing principle to proactively integrate into China’s national development, leverage support from the mainland and connect with the rest of the world.

“Hong Kong will explore more opportunities for exchanges and collaboration with Singapore in a wide range of areas including trade and investment, financial services, education, culture, innovation and technology,” Lee said.

“I hope that Hong Kong and Singapore will continue multifaceted co-operation to strengthen our very close ties,” he added.

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Heng also met Chief Secretary Eric Chan Kwok Ki, who described Hong Kong and Singapore as “among the most competitive externally oriented economies in the world”.

Chan told the deputy prime minister that businesses and talent from Singapore were welcome to come to Hong Kong to grasp development opportunities and make use of the city as a major platform to tap into the mainland market and Greater Bay Area.

The Greater Bay Area is an ambitious initiative by Beijing to link Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong province into an integrated economic and business hub.

Heng on Monday also met Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong, who tested preliminarily positive for Covid-19 later in the day and was placed in isolation.

It was understood that Heng had not been classified as a close contact as the deputy prime minister and Sun had both kept their masks on throughout the meeting.

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The deputy prime minister and his wife were also guests of Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo Po later in the day, the local government said, with the pair exchanging views on economic issues, among other topics.

Heng last visited Hong Kong in 2019 after he took office as deputy prime minister of Singapore, whilst he was also serving as the city state’s finance chief at the time.

In late May, two of Singapore’s senior officials – Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan – also visited Hong Kong for a four-day work trip.

They called on Lam and also met former city leader Leung Chun Ying. Teo also visited Lee, then chief executive-elect.

The city state’s health minister Ong Ye Kung also came to Hong Kong last November for the Asia Summit on Global Health.

Meanwhile, earlier on Monday, Lee received the visiting president of China Development Bank Ouyang Weimin and his delegation.

Both exchanged views on global issues and the city’s macroeconomic situation, according to a statement by the Hong Kong government.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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