9th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Mr. John Lee, delivered a speech at the Reception in Celebration of 125th Anniversary of Proclamation of Philippine Independence today. The event was attended by distinguished guests, including Honourable Speaker Romualdez, Consul-General Mr. Raly Tejada, and Deputy Commissioner Pan Yundong.
In his speech, Mr. Lee expressed his pleasure in joining the event and congratulated the people of the Philippines on the special occasion of the National Day and the 125th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. He emphasized the strong friendship between China and the Philippines and how it was reaffirmed during the state visit of His Excellency President Marcos Jr. of the Republic of the Philippines to China in January 2023. The bilateral meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Marcos Jr. was productive and resulted in a joint statement that further strengthens bilateral trade and cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and people-to-people exchanges.
Mr. Lee also highlighted the long history of close ties between Hong Kong and the Philippines, particularly in trade and investment. The trade in goods between the two places amounted to 16.4 billion US Dollars in 2022, making the Philippines Hong Kong’s eleventh-largest trading partner in the world. He also noted that Hong Kong’s unique advantage of having the strong support of national strategies under the “one country, two systems” principle while maintaining unparalleled connectivity with the world makes it a solid conduit for trade between the Philippines and Mainland China.
The full entry into force of the Free Trade Agreement between the ASEAN and Hong Kong, China, and the related Investment Agreement in 2021 marks a new chapter in Hong Kong’s relations with the ASEAN economies, including the Philippines. Mr. Lee expressed confidence that Hong Kong remains best-placed to serve the economic interests of the Philippines and ASEAN.
The Chief Executive congratulated the Philippines on the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact in the country, which he believes will drive economic recovery in the region in the post-pandemic era. He also expressed Hong Kong’s interest in joining the RCEP, as it would add further impetus to the region’s growth. He thanked the Philippines for the support given to Hong Kong in the course of seeking accession to the RCEP as soon as possible.
Mr. Lee expressed his gratitude to the Filipino community in Hong Kong, particularly the hundreds of thousands of Filipino domestic helpers, for their significant economic and social contributions to the city. He acknowledged their contribution to enabling many local women in families with children or the elderly to join the workforce and build the city into the thriving metropolis it is today.