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FS highlights Hong Kong-Shanghai co-operation at key Finance Forum for Expo (with photos/video)

The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, said today (July 21) that co-operation between Hong Kong and Shanghai would propel China's emergence as a global financial powerhouse.

Speaking at a high-level Hong Kong SAR Finance Forum in Shanghai, Mr Tsang said both cities had important roles to play in China's financial development.

"China will be the main focus on the world stage in the future," said Mr Tsang.

"It will be a unique advantage for the country's financial strategy to have two international financial centres, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

"Hong Kong and Shanghai will show our respective strengths and complement each other in contributing to the economic development of the country and the globalisation of the Mainland's financial markets."

The Finance Forum - themes"Stronger Links, Strong Markets: Hong Kong, the Mainland and the World" - is a HKSAR programme for World Expo 2010 Shanghai China and was also attended by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan, who delivered the closing remarks.

Keynote speakers included Shanghai Vice Mayor, Mr Tu Guangshao, the Director-General for International Affairs of China Securities Regulatory Commission, Mr Tong Daochi, and the Chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), Mr Ronald Arculli.

Former Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business of the United Kingdom and former Standard Chartered Chairman, Lord Mervyn Davies, delivered the keynote luncheon speech on the new international financial landscape.

In his opening speech, Mr Tsang said Hong Kong's greatest advantage was its international outlook and experience.

"This is evident in our highly open financial system, free flow of capital and information, and internationally connected regulatory systems, which attract capital and talent from all over the world to come to Hong Kong," he said.

Mr Tsang added that Hong Kong would continue to strengthen its role as a testing ground for the internationalisation of the renminbi.

"As an established international financial centre Hong Kong can promote the internationalisation of the renminbi and the development of the renminbi asset market," he said.

"This process will definitely make the onshore capital market more open.

"During this process, Hong Kong and Shanghai will act like two engines of the same airplane. They will run together to push forward the internationalisation of the renminbi."

Also speaking in the morning session, Mr Arculli addressed the role of exchanges in the new economic order.

He said unregulated, alternative trading platforms such as dark pools posed challenges to regulators and regulated exchanges.

"There is unequal access to markets and the fair price discovery process is impeded because a portion of demand and supply for a stock is effectively concealed," he said.

"Alternative trading platforms do not offer the same price visibility or quality control assurance that regulated exchanges do, nor the risk management features.

"These platforms are fragmenting liquidity in the name of low cost and high speed."

During the day-long forum there were also three panel discussions: "Prospects of renminbi offshore products", moderated by Professor Chan; "Has the financial crisis reshaped global finance?", moderated by Mr Arculli; and "Outlook and anxieties", moderated by the Chief Executive of HKEx, Mr Charles Li.

Top-level speakers at the panel discussions included the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Mr Peter Pang; the Vice-Chairman of CITIC Capital Holdings Limited, Mr Lawrence Lau; the President of Chinese Securities Association of Hong Kong, Mr Tse Yung-hoi; the Chief Economist of Bank of China (BOC) International, Mr Cao Yuanzheng; the Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), Mr Martin Wheatley; the Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of BOC Hong Kong, Mr He Guangbei; the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong), Mr Benjamin Hung; the Chairman of SFC, Mr Eddy Fong; the Executive Vice President of Shanghai Stock Exchange, Mr Liu Xiaodong; and the Executive Vice President of Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Mr Chen Hongqiao.

More than 400 prominent financial services professionals attended the Finance Forum, which was co-organised by HKEx, the HKSAR Government's Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and Invest Hong Kong.