Liu Guangyuan (right), commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, shakes hands with HCCH Secretary-General Christophe Bernasconi on Tuesday. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

International legal organizations have much to both contribute and gain as China embarks on its new journey and Hong Kong starts a new chapter, said Liu Guangyuan, commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, on Tuesday. 

Liu made the remarks to an in-person and virtual audience at a legal conference on the second day of Hong Kong’s flagship annual Legal Week.

Tuesday’s event — the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) Conventions Supporting Transnational Litigation in Civil or Commercial Matters — also marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Regional Office of the HCCH in Hong Kong.

The office was established through the efforts of the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference and the Chinese central government.

“Over these 10 years, the Chinese government, including the governments of Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, has provided strong support for the operation of the Regional Office. The Regional Office has also lived up to the expectations by making best use of Hong Kong’s location edge to organize international seminars and cooperate closely with regional countries,” Liu said.

Calling the establishment of the office in Hong Kong the “right choice”, Liu said the Hague Conference has enjoyed more influence, deeper recognition and wider participation across the Asia-Pacific region.

“Over the past 10 years, the Regional Office, based in Hong Kong and rooted in China, has witnessed the vitality of the practice of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong, the great changes of China in a new era, and the historic leap in China’s relations with the world,” he said.

“Today, Hong Kong is reborn with vigor and vitality,” Liu said, adding that it has achieved a major transition from chaos to stability and is hastening its integration into national development, aligning itself with national strategies, and expanding external cooperation.

“Standing at a historic juncture, we are full of confidence. With the support of the motherland, Hong Kong will be able to give better play to its unique status and advantages, and create more glories,” Liu concluded.

At the same event, Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok said that as an Asian metropolis that accommodates talent, trade, and capital from all over the world, the city needs to have a sound and harmonized private international law regime.

Lam said a robust private international law regime would undoubtedly facilitate the envisaged growth in the region, adding that the SAR has started the process to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest free trade area which commenced on Jan 1. 

“I am very confident that we are ready to set sail together to the promising future in the Asia-Pacific and under the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.

Also speaking at the event was HCCH Secretary-General Christophe Bernasconi, who expressed his gratitude to the central government of the People’s Republic of China and the government of the Hong Kong SAR for their strong ongoing support, as the regional office confirmed a further financial contribution for three years from the Chinese Embassy in The Hague.

He said he believes that the office in Hong Kong serves as a bridge to strengthen the link between the permanent bureau in The Hague and countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Speaking after the event with media outlets, Bernasconi said Hong Kong has a professional, well-trained legal profession, which benefits HCCH in various forms. 

He also expressed his confidence in Hong Kong’s role in carrying HCCH’s message to the world, revealing that HCCH will develop more cooperation with Hong Kong next year, such as events to foster dialogue and the sharing of information between international experts and lawyers.

Bernasconi welcomed more international organizations to Hong Kong, saying it will strengthen the city’s status as a global legal hub and create synergies among various international organizations.

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