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Monday, September 14, 2015, 09:45

Belt & Road 'could boost HK legal services sector'

By Xinhua

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen has the idea that the "One Belt, One Road" initiative can provide fresh impetus to the development of the legal services sector, a traditionally strong field of the region.

"The legal and arbitration services sectors in Hong Kong could cooperate with enterprises from the Chinese mainland during the implementation of the 'Belt and Road' initiative and achieve win- win results," Yuan told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.

He explained that for companies expanding their business to countries along the "Belt and Road" could be confronted with legal uncertainties or risks, Hong Kong's legal services sector, with full-fledged expertise and professionalism, could help in this regard.

Yuen noted that Hong Kong's legal services providers can help mainland enterprises in better understanding the legal environment in countries where they expand their business, in drafting and implementing business contracts and in related mediation or arbitration processes should there be disputes.

"This provides a good opportunity of out-ward development for Hong Kong's legal services sector," said the justice secretary.

Yuen said that with the robust economic development in China and Asia as a whole, China has played an increasingly active role in international business activities.

Many professionals from the legal circles, therefore, anticipate a golden age for development of legal and arbitration services in Asia.

As countries along the "Belt and Road" are at different development stages, a new set of arbitration mechanisms with consideration of this particular situation would be needed in the future, according to Yuen.

Hong Kong, strong in service sectors, is making efforts to enhance its role as an international legal and arbitration hub for the Asia-Pacific region.

The justice secretary encouraged exchanges between the legal circles from both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, saying he has been promoting Hong Kong's legal and arbitration services to Mainland partners on a number of occasions.

Commenting on the realities of the rule of law in Hong Kong, the justice secretary said legal systems here are complete and sound, and the government's handling of last year's illegal "Occupy Central" movement attested to that.

He, however, maintained that the movement's challenge to Hong Kong's rule of law still lingers, saying, "It is extremely dangerous if people with different political appeals could break laws as they wish."

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