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One Belt and One Road” and Hong Kong’s Legal Services

By CGCC Vision

Following the Chief Executive’s repeated mention of the development of “One Belt and One Road”, the related topics have been the subject of considerable public discussion. The new policy bears endless opportunities for all, and Hong Kong’s legal profession is, of course, no exception.

Elsie Leung, Deputy Director of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee, believes that as a world power, China should pay close attention to its cultural standing, political and legal systems, and the quality of its people. The “One Belt and One Road” national policy advances the democratic rule of law, deepens the cultural system reform and improves people’s livelihood, which is fully in line with the rise of a world power.

The Uniqueness of “One Belt and One Road”
Leung noted that since the “One Belt and One Road” has no preset rules, it enables China to become proactive. Moreover, the concept has a win-win approach without any threshold and is open, inclusive, mutually beneficial and non-exclusive.

Thus, the areas of cooperation between China and other countries along the “One Belt and One Road” are much diversified, while the Silk Road Fund, AIIB, TPP, international financial institutions and development-oriented financial funds can provide the capital and skills for these countries as required.

Embodiment of One Country, Two Systems
Under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong is a part of China while having different systems. It has also become an international financial centre as well as a bridge between the Chinese and Western cultures. On this basis, Leung is convinced that China’s “One Belt and One Road” development initiative and “going global” strategy present major opportunities for Hong Kong’s legal profession.

Hong Kong’s Laws have Obvious Advantages
The country’s development will inevitably involve a large number of contracts. Leung believes that by relying on its existing legal status, Hong Kong can strive to make its laws as the applicable law for the contracts and for its courts and other institutions to become the place for contract dispute resolution, thereby contributing the wisdom and efforts of its lawyers.

She added that Hong Kong’s lawyers are not only adept at the details of both Chinese and Western laws, but also gaining deeper understanding of the legal systems and financing methods of Islamic countries. Furthermore, as Hong Kong’s lawyers are bilingual, they are able to accurately analyze the different requirements of the contracting parties, and share their analyzes with Chinese customers to help them make accurate judgements.

Leung also pointed out that because Hong Kong’s lawyers are in constant contact with a large number of businesspeople from around the world and understand their needs, they are high-quality intermediaries whose participation can prevent misunderstandings and effectively contribute to the negotiations between the contracting parties.

She also commended Hong Kong’s sound and fair international legal dispute resolution mechanism, complete procedural rules, and stringent by-the-book disposal of cases, which are fully in line with international practice. Therefore, Hong Kong is well-positioned to build a legal dispute resolution centre that is generally accepted by the international community. She suggested that Hong Kong should establish a legal dispute resolution centre specialised in serving the “One Belt and One Road” initiative.

Looking Ahead to Seek Opportunities
Looking into the future, Leung looks forward to the various sectors submitting recommendations to the HKSAR Government for inclusion in the Policy Address; she also requested the Central Government to include the recommendations in the “13th Five-Year” Plan for implementation. As in the case of the CEPA, it depends on our proactivity to seek opportunities.

 

This article was firstly published in the magazine CGCC Vision 2016 July issue. Please click to read full report.

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