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HK chief executive promotes Greater Bay Area in three-day visit to Japan

HK chief executive promotes Greater Bay Area in three-day visit to Japan

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor started a three-day trip to Japan on Sunday to attend a symposium for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The symposium, jointly held by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, will be on Tuesday in Tokyo, site of one of the world’s best-known and largest bay areas.

Lam will speak at the event, as will Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui and Macao’s Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi-fan.

Japan’s State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoshihiro Seki will attend and also address the symposium, according to the full-day event’s website. Around 500 Japanese business leaders and executives are also expected to attend.

In the afternoon, two panel discussions will be held, one themed on innovation and technology, and the other on smart health.

Top enterprises from Japan, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao – in industrial, technological, financial and medical sectors – will join the discussion and explore further collaboration.

This overseas promotion underscores China’s determination to advance the development of the 11-city cluster, as well as its firm adherence to the opening-up policy, said Sun Bushu, deputy director of the South China City Research Association.

Sun said the event presents a significant opportunity for the Bay Area to enhance its international reputation and influence because Tokyo Bay – one of the world’s top three bay areas – has been closely linked to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta in business and trade.

In 2017, Japan was Hong Kong’s fourth-largest trading partner, according to the SAR’s Trade and Industry Department, and Hong Kong was Japan’s eighth-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in goods between the two that year amounted to HK$381.9 billion ($48.7 billion).

Registration for the symposium was closed on March 29, because it was fully booked, according to its website.

A similar seminar was held in Paris in June, with Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao jointly promoting Bay Area business opportunities.

Lam, according to the Hong Kong Chief Executive’s Office, will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

She also plans to meet with business leaders, as well as leaders of innovation and technology-related organizations and institutions, and she will visit eldercare and medical facilities.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, Lam said Japan is a vast market and she aims to explore on her trip how Japanese businesses and research institutions can become involved in the Bay Area’s development.

The Greater Bay Area, covering 56,000 square kilometers with a combined population of 70 million by the end of 2017, aims to become a world-class Bay Area that provides quality life to its residents.