The City of London agreed with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Monday to jointly facilitate the financing of projects associated with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

The deal was an outcome of the seventh private-sector-led Hong Kong-London Financial Services Forum, which was held in Hong Kong. At the gathering, government representatives and business executives also agreed to further collaborate on initiatives, including renminbi internationalization, green finance, and financial technology.

The agreement follows closely the ninth UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue, which concluded on Saturday in Beijing. It had 72 outcomes, including the establishment of a 750-million-pound ($1 billion) China-UK fund to invest in Belt and Road projects.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman of the City of London, said the partnership allows London to learn from Hong Kong's progress in facilitating Belt and Road investments.
Under the agreement, the City of London will become an official partner of the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, which is also known as the IFFO, a Hong Kong government organization that facilitates global infrastructure investment and financing through the capital market of Hong Kong.

Established in July 2016, the IFFO already has more than 75 partners, including banks, investment companies, insurance companies, and law firms. It is part of the Hong Kong authority's initiative to channel many of the funding activities connected to Belt and Road projectsto Hong Kong, creating more opportunities for its financial services companies. So far, the IFFO's work has focused on conferences to raise investor awareness.

The IFFO has also signed agreements with the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China, in which the banks have agreed to help Hong Kong develop its infrastructure financing market. It signed a similar agreement with the International Financial Corporation.

As testimony to Hong Kong's efforts to promote itself as the Belt and Road's financing center, this September a Belt and Road Summit hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council attracted more than 3,000 participants, including representatives from 170 infrastructure projects.

"I hope, going forward, we can form a deeper relationship with HKMA and the Hong Kong government, who we already enjoy strong links with, to work together more closely in areas like the Belt and Road," said McGuinness.

In an interview in May, McGuiness said she wants London's services companies to engage more closely with the Belt and Road Initiative so the district can maintain its financial strength amid uncertainty around Britain's exit from the European Union.

"The huge complexity of financing projects along those routes – each country and each project would bring their own risks and complexities – London would be able to help," McGuinness said.