FS leads HKSAR Government delegation to attend Bay to Bay Dialogue between California Bay Area and GBA, and US-China High-Level Event on Subnational Climate Action (with photos/video)


     The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, led a delegation from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government, together with the delegation from the Guangdong Province led by the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wang Weizhong, and the Macao SAR delegation led by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR, Ms Ao Ieong U, participated in the Bay to Bay Dialogue between the California Bay Area and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the US-China High-Level Event on Subnational Climate Action in Berkeley, California, the United States (US), on May 29 (California time).

     The President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Mr Yang Wanming, the Governor of California, Mr Gavin Newsom, and a number of senior officials of California also participated in the two events. Representatives from the National Development and Reform Commission of China and representatives from various states in the US also attended the US-China High-Level Event on Subnational Climate Action.

     The Bay to Bay Dialogue between the California Bay Area and the GBA focuses on the co-operation between the GBA and the San Francisco Bay Area in various aspects. Mr Chan spoke at the first panel discussion session with the theme “Building Green and Low Carbon Bay Areas: Policy and Action” in the morning. He shared Hong Kong’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and the relevant low-carbon transformation policy measures adopted to achieve the goal, which includes using cleaner energy for electricity generation, using mass transportation, especially the railway system as the backbone for transport and urban development, energy savings and emission reduction in buildings, green buildings, and waste reduction. He also elaborated on the work and progress on how Hong Kong utilised its advantage as a financial centre to promote the matching of funds with green projects.

     Speaking at another session afterwards, Mr Chan said that the two bay areas are among the most affluent, technologically advanced and influential areas in the world. With the co-operation between the two bay areas, they will achieve growing influence and will be able to make proactive contribution to green development around the globe. He hoped that this dialogue event will mark the beginning of more extensive and deeper co-operation between the two places. Mr Chan also pointed out that apart from green development, Hong Kong, playing its unique role, can become an ideal location for the two bay areas to connect in terms of investment and businesses. 

     Mr Chan further added that leveraging the opportunities arising from this Bay to Bay Dialogue, three Letters of Intent and Memorandum of Understanding were signed between Hong Kong and partners in the San Francisco Bay Area, namely (1) a Letter of Intent on Collaboration signed between the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau with the California-China Climate Institute to strengthen collaboration on areas including carbon market development and sustainable finance; (2) the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Invest Hong Kong and the Bay Area Council of San Francisco of the US, which aims to facilitate exchanges in investment promotion, and green and sustainable development of the two places; and (3) a Letter of Intent on Collaboration signed between the Institute for Climate and Carbon Neutrality of the University of Hong Kong with the California-China Climate Institute to promote the nurturing of talent and youth exchanges and training.

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau, also participated in a discussion session themed “Sharing Development Opportunities of the Bay Areas – Business and Investment” of the Bay to Bay Dialogue. He introduced the advantages and characteristics of the GBA in business and investment, as well as the huge opportunities therein. He emphasised that Hong Kong can play the unique role of “super connector” and “super value-adder”, attracting enterprises from all around the world and assisting Mainland enterprises to go global. 

     In addition, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong Professor Gong Peng, participated in a discussion session themed “People to people Exchange for Mutual Understanding and Friendship” and expressed his views on promoting youth and educational exchanges between the two Bay Areas.

     In the afternoon, Mr Chan and members of the delegation attended the US-China High-Level Event on Subnational Climate Action. During the first round-table discussion session themed “Sustainable and Green Transition”, he elaborated on Hong Kong’s strategies and processes towards carbon neutrality, including the popularisation of electric vehicles and works carried out in the areas of green finance and green technology.

     The Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Joseph Chan, also attended the session. He said that Hong Kong, as an international financial centre and the largest green and sustainable bond issuance centre in Asia, can lead international green capital to invest in green projects, green products and green technologies in both bay areas, thereby contributing to the green transformation of the economies of China, the United States and the world, and the work in combating climate change.

     The Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, attended the round-table discussion session entitled “Clean Energy and Low Carbon Innovation” and “Local Climate Resilient Development”. Mr Lam elaborated on the direction and measures taken by Hong Kong in promoting green shipping. Mr Lam noted that the country firmly supports Hong Kong’s status as an international maritime centre as stated in the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Outline Development Plan for the GBA, and Hong Kong is one of the busiest ports in the world. Hong Kong focuses on green port, green fleet and green expertise, striving to promote green shipping. Promoting clean energy and low carbon solutions not only contribute to combating climate change, but also enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong’s maritime industry.

     During the roundtable discussion session on “Local Climate Resilient Development”, the Commissioner for Climate Change, Mr Wong Chuen-fai, discussed the responses towards the increasingly frequent extreme weather events. 
     In the evening, the Hong Kong delegation had a dinner with representatives from the two bay areas and the business community who participated in the Bay to Bay Dialogue and the High-Level Event. Mr Chan pointed out that sincere co-operation between China and the US on climate change could generate significant synergies and bring about important positive impacts globally. He hopes to continue promoting communication and co-operation between the two bay areas in the future and consolidating mutual friendship.

     On May 30 (California time), Mr Chan will conduct the last day of his visit to California.