The BVI Asia Trade Mission, led by Deputy Premier and Minister for Financial Services, Honourable Lorna Smith, has concluded its roadshows in Beijing and Shanghai, with more than 300 industry representatives and professionals present for two days of informative speeches, panel discussions, and networking on the BVI’s financial services product offerings. The delegation also held a series of productive engagements with Chinese Government representatives.

At events in Beijing and Shanghai, the Ministry of Financial Services, along with BVI and Asia-based practitioners from ATU, ICS Corporate Services, Portcullis Group, Ogier, Maples Group, Appleby, Bank of Asia, Walkers, TMF, Harneys, Vistra, the BVI International Arbitration Centre, the BVI Financial Services Commission, the BVI Hong Kong Office, and BVI Finance, discussed the critical issues and innovative strategies shaping the future of financial services. Presentations and panel discussions highlighted the BVI’s unique position to navigate global disruptions and drive economic prosperity through connecting markets and facilitating investment, trade, and capital flows.

Deputy Premier Smith said, “It’s been a pleasure to hold such constructive discussions with both the private sector and Government representatives in Beijing. The Chinese market is critical to BVI’s financial services industry, comprising more than 40% of total trade; and likewise, BVI plays an essential role in supporting China’s inward & outward investment landscape, international trading, stock markets, and real-estate & construction sectors.”

Regional experts hailed the BVI’s offering to the Asian market: David Chong, founder and president of the Portcullis Group stated, “At 71 years old, having engaged in BVI business for nearly 40 years since the introduction of the BVI International

Business Company in 1984, I can confidently say that the BVI remains the gold standard.”

Another experienced business leader, who has practiced law in Hong Kong for over 30 years and founded the Bank of Asia (BVI) Limited and BOA International Financial Group Limited, Carson Wen, noted the BVI’s enduring success in the region.

He stated, “In Asia, success follows success, and the BVI will continue to be the go-to jurisdiction for Asian corporates, high-net-worth individuals, and institutional investors.”

The next generation of business leaders, such as Tiger Zhang, Director of ICS Fund Services, and Vicky Lord, Managing Partner of Harneys Shanghai, also highlighted the BVI’s flexibility, efficiency in structuring cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and investments. Lord emphasized the BVI’s speed, corporate agility, and legal and commercial certainty as key to its competitiveness in the region. Zhang noted the increasing demand for BVI fund products and approved managers, attributing this to the BVI’s superior, cost-effective offerings compared to other jurisdictions.

The delegation also hosted a series of meetings with Government representatives. This included a visit to China’s Department of Foreign Trade within the Ministry of Commerce for financial services and trade meetings. During the meeting, Director-General Xingqian underscored the importance of China’s trade with the BVI, highlighting the increase in industrial trade between the BVI and China from USD 9.17 million in 2020 to USD 70 million in 2023, and USD 30.79 million over the first four months of 2024.

Deputy Premier Smith expressed the great importance of Chinese industrial goods to BVI’s construction sector, as reconstruction efforts from the devastating hurricanes of 2017 are still ongoing. She highlighted the significant role BVI Business Companies were playing in the Chinese import-export markets, reflected in their usage for shipping and manufacturing.

A meeting at the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), hosted by Chairman Mr. Yang Wanming, focused on the long-term relationship between BVI and China as trading partners, highlighting the long-

standing relationship developed over four decades. Chairman Yang stated that BVI was well known in China’s business community because of the significant role the Territory plays in China’s financial sector and investments ecosystem.

Honourable Smith expressed the Virgin Islands’ commitment to servicing Chinese clients, continuing to provide financial products critical to China’s investment climate and international trading. BVI is seeking to provide more tailored financial products geared towards China’s innovation-based industries such as artificial intelligence, fintech, electric vehicles, decarbonization, and sustainable energy.

The Territory will continue to be a key fixture in China’s economic development and more trade promotion teamed with product development will be necessary for BVI to remain China’s preferred jurisdiction of choice for global financial services business.

The BVI Asia Trade Mission will conclude its final leg in Singapore from Wednesday through Friday.