The global trade association for shipowners and operators, International Chamber of Shipping （ICS） opened its China Liaison Office in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region（SAR） on Tuesday, 21 November, during a reception hosted by the Hong Kong Shipowners Association.
Liu Xiaoming, the Deputy Minister of Transport from the People’s Republic of China, Huang Liuquan, the Deputy Director of Hong Kong, Macau Affairs Office of State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and Frank Chan, Secretary for Transport and Housing Bureau of Hong Kong SAR were present to help oversee proceedings.
On 20 November 2019, Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR hosted a welcome dinner at Government House for the ICS’ delegation and congratulated them on the opening of the China Liaison Office.
The move signaled ever closer relations between the global shipping industry, – which ICS represents – the Government of China and the China Shipowners’ Association. The Chinese approach of ‘one country, two systems’ means that Hong Kong SAR was the obvious location for the new office, providing a bridge between China and the rest of the maritime world.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Hong Kong SAR, Frank Chan, said: “The decision to have its first ever Liaison Office based right here in Hong Kong is clear recognition of China’s emergence as one of the world’s leading maritime nations, and also Hong Kong’s superb connectivity with the global shipping community.”
Liu Xiaoming, the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Transport from the People’s Republic of China, said: “The Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than half of the global trading volume, and is vital to the development of global shipping business. Hong Kong‘s shipping industry has a long history and has been established as an international shipping center for more than a century. As a pillar industry of Hong Kong, shipping, trade and logistics have also made important contributions to the prosperity of the global economy.
“The establishment of the China Liaison Office by the International Chamber of Shipping in Hong Kong is an important measure to promote a closer relationship between the global shipping community by the ICS and the Chinese Government and the China Shipowners Association.”
Commenting on the opening of the China Liaison Office, ICS Chairman Esben Poulsson said: “The opening of an ICS Liaison Office in Hong Kong reflects the importance, and the influential role that Asian economies, and particularly China, play on the international stage. China is of course a hub for global shipping and it has never been more important to promote and champion the positive impact trade has across the globe.”
“We at ICS are proud to enjoy strong relationships with China, particularly with the representatives at the United Nations International Maritime Organization（IMO） in London. Shipping is a global industry requiring global rules to operate safely and efficiently. As a major maritime power, China‘s strong engagement with IMO is a source for good, as well as being of critical importance for international shipping.”
The Principal Representative of the ICS China Liaison Office, Edward Liu, said: “I am proud to be playing a role in fostering positive relations between the ICS, the Government of China, the Government of Hong Kong SAR, the China Shipowners’ Association, and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association.
“China’s economy is on the verge of becoming the largest in the world. In terms of maritime imports/exports it is already the most important for its impact on global demand for maritime trade. It is vital that we have a presence here and this new office reflects our efforts to boost our presence in this region.
“The core objective for the ICS is maintaining China’s strong support for a global system of maritime governance during the immediate years ahead. The impact of Chinese domestic regulations on non-Chinese ships trading to China is also of increasing importance to ICS members.”
The immediate function of the new ICS office will be to increase mutual co-operation and understanding between the Government of China and ICS with respect to important longer term regulatory issues now being considered at the global level.
In particular, such issues include the delivery of the ambitious IMO Strategy for the reduction of GHG emissions by international shipping adopted in 2018 （including the IMO target that requires a reduction of the sector’s total GHG emissions of at least 50％ by 2050） and the maintenance of maritime free trade and a rules based global trading system will be a top priority.