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Speech by SEDL at HKSAR/Kuwait Air Services Agreement signing ceremony


Following is the speech by the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip, at the signing ceremony of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)/Kuwait Air Services Agreement in Kuwait today (April 7) (English only):

Minister Al-Sabah, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am glad to be here in Kuwait to sign the Air Services Agreement between the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the State of Kuwait. I would like to thank Minister Al-Sabah for your warm welcome and hospitality. I would also like to thank Mr Al-Zawawi, the Consul General of the State of Kuwait in Hong Kong, for his thoughtful arrangements.

The Air Services Agreement between Hong Kong and Kuwait is an important step forward in our bilateral relationship. It provides a legal framework for the establishment of air links between Hong Kong and Kuwait. It opens a new chapter in the development of aviation relations between the two economies.

The Hong Kong SAR Government has been implementing a policy of progressive liberalisation of our air services to enhance Hong Kong's position as an international and regional aviation centre. Hong Kong has an extensive air services network. Each week some 70 international airlines operate about 4,100 flights between Hong Kong and 130 destinations worldwide. I look forward to welcoming airlines of Kuwait to the Hong Kong International Airport in the near future.

At the moment there are no direct air services between Hong Kong and Kuwait. However, I believe the market will mature for such services before long. Kuwait, being the gateway to the Middle East, is a perfect choice for the entrepreneurial Hong Kong businessmen to explore the many business opportunities in the region while Hong Kong, the gateway to China and the most popular tourist destination in the region would be equally attractive to the people of Kuwait. We welcome you to visit us and we will continue to work closely together towards strengthening the economic ties between Hong Kong and Kuwait.

Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, April 7, 2004


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