Following is the full text of a speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Commerce and Industry), Miss Denise Yue, at "The Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in China - Guangdong" 3rd Anniversary Cocktail Reception today (January 16): (Translation)
Honourable Deputy-Secretary Huang, Mr Tsang, Mr Leung, Mr Lee, distinguished guests,
I am very honoured to be able to represent the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to attend this reception to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in China - Guangdong.
Since its establishment in early 2000, the Chamber has been playing a crucial role in enhancing the liaison among Hong Kong businessmen in the Guangdong Province, as well as promoting the economic integration between Guangdong and Hong Kong. Within a short span of three years, the Chamber has established close connections with the various authorities of the Guangdong People's Government and its municipalities. Its membership has increased impressively from around 100 at inception to over 800 now. The enthusiastic participation of Hong Kong businessmen is testimony to the Chamber's success.
Hong Kong and Guangdong have always enjoyed intimate commerce and economic ties. In recent years, the advent of globalisation, coupled with the growing competition between regional economies, have underlined the importance of closer economic partnership between Hong Kong and Guangdong. Closer partnership enables the two places to capitalise on each other's unique advantages and further enhance each other's economic growth. At present, there are over 60 000 Hong Kong companies operating in the Guangdong Province. Hong Kong investors have a cumulative investment of US$78.9 billion in the Province, representing about 70 per cent of Guangdong's total foreign direct investment. And these investments have extended beyond the traditional area of outward processing to tourism, real estate, retail, as well as business and communications services. There is no doubt that the business sector will play an even more significant role as economic integration between Hong Kong and Guangdong continues. In the process, the HKSAR Government will render our full support.
Apart from continuing to strengthen our cooperation with the Guangdong authorities through the Guangdong-Hong Kong Joint Cooperation Conference, the HKSAR Government will also step up our support for Guangdong-based businessmen through the Guangdong Economic and Trade Office (ETO) officially opened in mid-October last year. Just this week, the ETO has led a delegation of Hong Kong businessmen to Zhanjiang, Maoming and Yangjiang to gain first hand knowledge of the investment environment there. The ETO will work closely with the Chamber, as well as the Guangdong-based colleagues of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to further enhance co-operation.
Apart from celebrating the 3rd anniversary of the Chamber, today's reception also marks a change of leadership of the Chamber. During the past three years, the Chamber has made enormous strides under the dedicated efforts of its former President Mr Eddie Leung. I have no doubt that the incoming President, Mr Sammy Lee, will build on the very remarkable achievements of the past, forge ahead into the future from strength to strength, and lead the Chamber to scale new heights.
Finally, I wish the Chamber every success in its future endeavours. Thank you.
End/Thursday, January 16, 2003