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Asia Trade Summit begins in Hong Kong


Asia Trade Summit begins in Hong Kong

Hong KongAsia Summit
Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Asia Trade Week will begin today in Hong Kong.

The four-day summit, organised by The Economist, will bring together global business leaders and Southeast Asian and Australian government officials to discuss Hong Kong’s ailing economy. Absent from the summit are Chinese and US officials, cooling the event’s political climate.

Today’s summit comes in the wake of Hong Kong’s sharpest GDP contraction on record, with the city’s economy shrinking 6.1% in 2020. Caught within the US-China trade war, international businesses are withdrawing from Hong Kong. Additionally, following the passage of the National Security Law (NSL) and COVID-19 restrictions, the city’s contraction reveals its struggle in straddling its loss of autonomy and new position under Beijing’s rule.

Expect today’s summit to emphasise the need for increased cooperation with regional partners such as Australia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in stimulating exports. Though Hong Kong’s economy sharply contracted in 2020, Chinese exports leaving and investment entering the city have surged in 2021, allaying fears of a continued contraction. As such, today’s summit will likely build upon a burgeoning medium-term recovery. In the long-term, expect Hong Kong’s economy to return to pre-pandemic growth as protests are abandoned and Beijing fills the gaps created by the US-China trade war and its NSL.

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