Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau today attended a webinar organised by The Economist Events to share his insights on global trade after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Titled “Global trade in transition? The world after COVID-19”, the webinar brought together officials, an academic and an entrepreneur to share their views on the future of globalisation after COVID-19 and its impact on Asian trade.


Mr Yau spoke about the unprecedented challenges posed to free and unimpeded trade in the last couple of years aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the rise of protectionist measures and the failure of the multilateral trading system.


He stressed that trade should not be blamed for the problems of globalisation. Citing the speed and scale of vaccine developments premised on the global market, he said free trade instead is the solution as is the impetus to bring back the economic momentum.


Mr Yau called for trade barrier removal and greater collaboration to fight against the pandemic, the common enemy of all.


He said Hong Kong will continue to strengthen free and open trade alliances with trading partners through signing high-standard free trade agreements and actively participating in regional trade co-operation.


Noting the impasse that the World Trade Organization is facing, Mr Yau said it is still the most important organisation in guarding the multilateral trading system and free trade.


Amid the present challenges, it is high time all WTO members, particularly the key players, contribute to mending fences and overcome the organisation’s limitation, he added.


Other webinar panellists were Deputy Director-General of European Commission Directorate General for Trade Helena Konig, Associate Professor of Economics at London School of Economics & Political Science Keyu Jin, and Xiaomi Vice President and Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain.


The webinar was supported by Brand Hong Kong.