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Thursday, December 15, 2016, 21:32

HK to provide financial services for Belt & Road Initiative

By Xinhua

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong can provide diverse financial services for investors in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Acting Financial Secretary Chan Ka-keung on Thursday.

In July this year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority established the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, to serve as a designated platform to facilitate the exchange of market information and to enhance cooperation among stakeholders, with the aim of bridging funding gaps and catalyzing infrastructure investment, Chan said at a seminar.

In the first half of the year, some 70% of the world's renminbi payment transactions were processed in Hong Kong

More than 50 organizations have joined the office as partners, including multilateral financial agencies and development banks, public-sector investors and asset managers, commercial and investment banks, infrastructure-project developers and operators, and professional service firms, Chan said.

As the international financial center in Asia, Hong Kong can support the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in its financial and treasury functions, as it has the essential expertise, experience and connection to serve as a fund-raising and financial management center for those big-ticket projects in the pipeline, he noted.

Infrastructural connectivity is a core element of the Belt and Road Initiative and huge capital outlays will be needed to fuel the development of the twin corridors and the Asian Development Bank has estimated that Asia overall would need $800 billion a year from now to the year 2020 for infrastructure investment, Chan said.

The AIIB is a key Belt-Road enabler in channeling funds into infrastructure projects, particularly for emerging markets, he said.

As trade and other economic activities along the Belt and Road corridors expand, so, too, will the demand for renminbi services and Hong Kong can respond to that demand, as its offshore renminbi business got going in 2004, and Hong Kong is the world's leading offshore renminbi business hub, he said.

In the first half of the year, some 70 percent of the world's renminbi payment transactions were processed in Hong Kong and Belt-Road investors have a variety of products and services to choose from Hong Kong, including renminbi dim sum bonds, cross-border trade settlement and Renminbi financing, he added.

Asset management, risk management and corporate treasury functions will also find demand as the Belt and Road gains momentum and Hong Kong should be the beneficiary of that, he said, adding that apart from financial services, Hong Kong's compelling advantages in logistics and professional services will further strengthen Hong Kong to be the key link for the Belt and Road economies.

Hong Kong has world-class talents in accounting, architecture, urban planning, engineering management and can certainly help meet the huge demand for high-end professional services arising from the planning, implementation and operation of the projects in the Belt and Road Initiative, Chan said.

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