Posted on November 16, 2022
Chief Executive John Lee
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shipping industry has been facing unprecedented challenges, including economic downturns, rising pressure from global inflation and the need for sustainable development.
This year’s forum, themed “Together for a brighter future”, provides a timely opportunity to discuss the way forward for the industry. Under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong enjoys the strong support of our country while being closely connected to the world. We are well placed to provide a platform for international exchange on the future of the shipping and maritime sector.
Hong Kong is a longstanding supporter and practitioner of free markets and multilateralism. We believe in the free flow of goods and services, people and capital.
The Hong Kong Port is one of the 10 busiest container ports in the world. Shipping is the lifeblood of our economy, with the industry carrying nearly 90% of the volume of external merchandise trade of Hong Kong to date. Trading and logistics account for one-fifth of Hong Kong’s GDP, and the sector is underpinned by our steadfast port, shipping and maritime services.
The central government has been clearly supporting Hong Kong’s position as an international shipping centre in the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development plan. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will continue to proactively entrench Hong Kong’s strengths by further developing our high value-added maritime services.
Hong Kong relishes an almost unrivalled competitive advantage in the provision of diverse maritime services with its premier location and nearly 900 shipping-related enterprises established.
The Hong Kong SAR Government endeavours to attract more high-quality maritime businesses to Hong Kong and in turn, develop an even more vibrant maritime services cluster. In July this year, we have started a new half-rate profits tax concessionary regime for qualifying shipping commercial principals, ship agents, ship managers and ship brokers.
We will also continue to nurture maritime talent and actively promote the development of a smart port.
We are also committed to promoting sustainable development. As part of our decarbonisation efforts, we are pressing ahead with the provision of liquefied natural gas bunkering for ocean-going vessels in Hong Kong, and implementing the latest requirements of the International Maritime Organization.
Thanks to such longstanding advantages as our friendly business environment, low and simple tax regime, the rule of law, world-class infrastructure and an abundance of professional talents, Hong Kong will continue to serve as the business and logistics gateway between the Mainland and the world. This connectivity, and our deepening integration with the Mainland, will create fresh opportunities for Hong Kong and for the economies and companies that work with us.
Chief Executive John Lee gave these remarks at the 2022 World Maritime Merchants Forum on November 15.