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Speech by PSCI at Hong Kong Fashion Week (English only)

Following is a speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Commerce and Industry), Miss Yvonne Choi, at the opening ceremony of Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring and Summer 2007 today (July 11):

Andrew, Steve, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to officiate at the Opening Ceremony of Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring and Summer 2007. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the exhibitors, buyers and visitors, especially those of you from out of town. I hope everyone finally managed to get a good night's sleep, now that we're finished with World Cup games at 3.00 am in the morning.

Hong Kong Fashion Week has become a major international apparel-sourcing exhibition. I see that one of the topics this week is "trend forecasting". Of course, fashion trends can be as variable as Hong Kong's weather. We have influences blowing in from the South, from the North and from the West. We can go from a comfortable summer breeze to an eye-popping typhoon in no time. If we want to know which way hemlines will go next year, perhaps we should consult our weather forecasters at the Hong Kong Observatory.

Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong's fashion industry has evolved since its days of relying primarily on OEM (original equipment manufacturing). We have responded to the growing competition from low-cost economies by moving to ODM (original design manufacturing) and OBM (original brand manufacturing). This transition owes its success to the entrepreneurial spirit of our manufacturers, to a talented pool of designers and to strong technological support.

With an increasingly globalised economy, changes in textiles quotas system, opening up of the Mainland market, and implementation of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), the clothing industry in Hong Kong continues to face challenges as well as opportunities. To help prepare the industry for the challenges ahead, the Government funded the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel this April to promote research and development (R&D) and technology transfer. The institute will also serve to co-ordinate R&D programmes and projects in collaboration with the industry, universities and technology partners. Together with support under the DesignSmart Initiative, we hope to maintain an environment for the design and apparel industries to flourish.

One crucial element for success is designers and companies teaming up to turn imaginative concepts into marketable products. Fashion Week provides a platform for our outstanding home-grown designers, and I am glad to see that there are many young ones emerging, to showcase their creations, and for manufacturers and merchandisers to exchange the latest market information. I urge you all to make full use of this platform.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the Honourable Andrew Leung, Chairman of the Trade Development Council (TDC) Garment Advisory Committee, the Committee members, the TDC colleagues and the exhibitors for putting together this significant event. And I wish you all a very fruitful week. Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Issued at HKT 13:04