Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) John Lee said on Sunday that there is huge potential for expanding Hong Kong's cooperation with the Middle East.
He made the remarks during a press conference held on the sidelines of his visit to Saudi Arabia as part of a Middle East tour, which also includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Lee leads a high-level delegation organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), consisting of more than 30 business heavyweights from various sectors, including finance and trade, industrial, professional services, infrastructure and development, innovation and technology, as well as transport and logistics.
As the world's freest economy, a major international financial center and the world's largest offshore RMB center, Hong Kong is determined to fully cooperate with and contribute to the Middle East region and other Belt and Road countries "with our world-class financial, business and professional services," Lee said.
"We enjoy the strong support of our country's national strategies while having unparalleled access and connectivity with the world," Lee said.
Hong Kong has been facilitating businesses and investors worldwide to tap into the vast markets in Greater China and Asia, playing a significant role in the global financial system with its special connectivity with the Chinese markets, he said.
Lee also announced the launch of negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the HKSAR government on the legally binding Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and other partnership agreements.
Meanwhile, HKTDC Chairman Peter KN Lam said that the Middle East has a vital role to play in the global economy, and Saudi Arabia is a significant player in the region.
During Lee's visit, the delegation will explore collaboration opportunities with the business community of Saudi Arabia and discuss ways for Hong Kong to facilitate the Arab country's strategic development through its role as a global financial hub and China's international gateway.