On Dec.13, 2017, the “Belt and Road: Financial Integration and Credit Enhancement” forum, also named as “South-South Cooperation (Hong Kong) Forum” and “Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum · Hong Kong Forum”, was successfully held in Hong Kong, co-organized by Finance Center for South-South Cooperation (FCSSC), Tsinghua PBC School of Finance (PBCSF), and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
More than 300 experts, scholars, and representatives from different industries attended the forum. They shared and exchanged ideas with each other on issues including South-South cooperation, financial integration, and credit enhancement along the “Belt and Road”, in order to find effective solutions for development financing, financial support, credit assurance, and other challenges that the “Belt and Road” Initiative might face.
In the opening ceremony, Mr. Cai E-sheng, Chairman of FCSSC, pointed out that, in order to build a community of a shared future for mankind, we cannot delay development. The Global South is still facing many challenges, such as extreme poverty, unbalance of development, and unemployment. To solve those challenges, China put forward the “BRICs Plus” mode to create an open and diversified development network, allow more emerging market countries and developing countries to share development opportunities, lead the implementation of financial cooperation, and facilitate South-South cooperation and an open world economy.
Professor Liao Li, Executive Associate Dean and Chair Professor of Tsinghua PBCSF, delivered a speech saying that Hongkong was an important hub along “Belt and Road”, having a distinctive advantage of geographical location, openness and cooperation, and professional services. “As financial integration is a key part of “Belt and Road” Initiative, good financing work can provide strong support for strategic development projects in South-South countries.
Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director of UNOSSC, said that as China proposed the “Belt and Road” Initiative, we considered this initiative a good example of South-South cooperation, in terms of economic, social, and financial development. “We are committed to working together to create a more prosperous and fair world. The challenge now is how to strengthen our cooperation in the financial field.”
Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Vice President of ECOSOC and Tajikistan’s Permanent Representative to UN expressed his congratulations to FCSSC for obtaining the “Special Consultative Status” with ECOSOC of UN. “We face a lot of challenges today, so we need a comprehensive initiative. The president of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, proposed the “Belt and Road” Initiative, which has a very important historical significance and acts as a complement traditional development path.”
Mr. Kiatchai Sophastienphong, Thailand Vice Minister for Finance, said that many countries had recognized and promoted the the “Belt and Road” Initiative. “Financial integration has effectively promoted cooperation and infrastructure sustainable development among related countries, offering each party a win-win situation.” The opening ceremony was chaired by Dr. Wu Zhong, the Vice President and Director-General of FCSSC.
Later, Mr. Zhang Zhiping, Executive President of FCSSC, hosted the keynote speech session. Mr. Zhou Yanli, former Vice Chairman of China Insurance Regulatory Commission, delivered a speech about “Current Situation and Future Trend of International Insurance Supervision”, providing a new way of thinking for South-South cooperation.
Mrs Regina IP LAU Suk-yee, Non-official Member of the Executive Council of Government of Hong Kong S.A.R., expressed that China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative complement the funding gap in developing countries. “As one of the three biggest financial centers in the world, Hong Kong is very important for infrastructure financial integration in the region, and it can transfer capital to different infrastructure projects.”
Professor Ba Shusong, Chief China Economist of HKEX and Chief Economist at the China Banking Association, introduced the financing trend and Hong Kong’s role in providing high-tech enterprises with new financing ways in his speech “New Economy, New Finance, New Trend”.
Mr. Mario Pezzini, Director of OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary-General on Development, further pointed out that financial integration was vital to enhance cooperation along “Belt and Road” Initiative, since as a key part of economy, the free flow and deep integration of finance was important to facilitate the whole of Asia, Europe, and Africa. It also indicated that the development of “Belt and Road” would develop and get better in the future.
Mr. Huang Zhiqiang, Vice President of China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, said “‘Belt and Road’ needs the close cooperation among the state, enterprises, banks, and financial institutions, with comprehensive evaluation and analysis from the project level, national level, and credit environment level, in order to optimize and improve. We are willing to act as the credit bridge to connect China and other countries and provide financing and credit support to ‘Belt and Road” Initiative.”
Mr. Chen Xiaohua, Deputy General Manager of China Gezhouba Group Co mentioned in his speech that, with concrete measures of “Belt and Road” Initiative taking place, South-South cooperation would also enter a period of rapid development. “We will strengthen our strategic cooperation with government departments, enterprises, and financial institutions in different countries, as well as explore new ideas and new models of cooperation between banks and enterprises and South-South production compacity association, in order to promote new motives and contributions to South-South cooperation.”
Subsequently, Dr. Bei Duoguang, President of Chinese Academy of Financial Inclusion, hosted the first Plenary Session. Mr. Zhou Chao, Vice President of China-Africa Development Fund, said in this session that China had huge economic capacity and strong manufacturing capabilities, while developed countries had traditional advantages in terms of channels, technology, and management. The developing and developed countries could cooperate with each other in terms of capital, enterprises, projects, and ideas, to play their respective advantages, and jointly promote the three-party cooperation of “Belt and Road” countries to achieve a win-win situation.
Dr. Bhekuyise Nicholas Mfeka, Economic Advisor to the President of the Republic of South Africa, mentioned that “South Africa is a part of the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative. In December 2015, President Xi Jinping and President Zuma jointly presided over the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding, paving the way for the participation of ‘Belt and Road’. For each country, if we want to invest in some major infrastructure projects, we need to build more suitable financial infrastructure for investment in ‘Belt and Road’ to help us not only find the investment, but also offer more credit and reduce the cost of financing.”
Mr. Enoch FUNG, Head of Market Development Division, External Department of Hong Kong Monetary Authority and General Manager of HKMA Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, shared Hon Kong’s role in the financial integration of “Belt and Road”. Mr. Zhang Gaobo, Vice President of FCSSC and Founding Partner & CEO of the Oriental Patron Financial Group, suggested that a “Belt and Road” equity board be established to innovate financial mechanisms. “We can learn from the red chips in Hong Kong 20 or 30 years ago and copy the model in South-South financial cooperation, in order to let enterprises from developing countries go listed in Hong Kong to raise funds for promoting the economic development of developing countries.
Ms. Wen Hong, Chief Representative of the Export-Import Bank of China in Hong Kong, shared the Bank’s endeavor in supporting the financial integration of “Belt and Road”. Mr. Paul Martin, Regional Technical Advisor at Bangkok Regional Office of United Nations Capital Development Fund, said that there were several similarities between South-South cooperation and “Belt and Road”. “The two initiatives are doing the work of regional integration by nature. For instance, institutions like ADB, ASEAN Secretariat, the Secretariat of Growth and Emerging Markets, and the APEC Secretariat, all are our tools to facilitate regional integration and financing.”
During the forum, FCSSC and OECD signed a Framework Agreement, and the Chinese version of South-South Cooperation Annual Report was formally launched.