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The Belt and Road Global Forum held its inauguration ceremony and its first annual round table June 27 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, officiated the ceremony and delivered the opening remarks. The Forum is an alliance of chambers of commerce, industry associations, investment promotion agencies and think tanks in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and around the world. It aims to promote interaction, information sharing and business collaboration among member organizations. The Forum has a membership of more than 110 organizations from 29 countries and regions with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council serving as the secretariat.

The Forum is set to hold annual roundtable meetings to promote closer cooperation among members. The first roundtable was attended by more than 80 member organizations from 24 countries and regions.

“Today, we literally have the world, with representatives from all five continents coming together,” said Vincent HS Lo, chairman of the HKTDC. “It is with this spirit of openness and collaboration that we set up this alliance. Sharing and exchange to create mutual success is the key purpose of the Global Forum.”

The roundtable was divided into two parts and chaired by Andrew Weir, HKTDC Council Member, Belt and Road Committee member and regional senior partner and global chairman of real estate and construction, KPMG. The first session examined the Belt and Road Initiative from a global perspective, covering topics including business opportunities arising from the Initiative, Chinese investment trends, the infrastructure needs of different regions, as well as the different approaches to facilitating infrastructure investment and financing in emerging economies. The second session explored the practical aspects of the Initiative through discussions on sources of funding, investment models, project identification, risk mitigation and case studies of best practices.

“Representing different sectors and countries around the world, Forum members contributed a wide array of expertise, meaningful exchanges and innovative ideas to the discussion,” Weir said. “I believe they will bring these valuable insights to their home countries, turning them into business opportunities and driving the Belt and Road Initiative forward.”

The Forum is also set to also launch an online platform for member organizations to exchange updates and views.

Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With more than 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organizes international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing business insights and information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room. For more info, visit beltandroadglobalforum.com.

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