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Speech by SCIT at the Reception for Hong Kong Businessmen in Ha Noi (English only) (with photo)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Joseph WP Wong, at the Reception for Hong Kong Businessmen in Ha Noi, Viet Nam today (November 17) (English only):

Ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening.

     Let me first welcome you all to this reception for Hong Kong businessmen in Ha Noi and we are pleased and honoured to have the Chief Executive present with us.  Before I invite the Chief Executive to deliver his remarks, I like to say a few words about APEC and Viet Nam.

     In the past two days, I and other APEC Trade Ministers had very useful meetings and we have agreed on a number of initiatives to be undertaken in 2007.  Among which, we have attached a lot of importance to the areas of free trade, trade liberalisation and trade facilitation.  Let me also mention that APEC itself is made up of 21 members. These 21 members made up 13 of the top 25 trading partners of the world.    

     For Hong Kong, over 80% of our merchandise trade is with other members of APEC.  Therefore, APEC, as a region, is very important.

     The other thing I want to mention is that, we talk about APEC in terms of the government side of the region.  We also have the business side of the region, which is APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) on which a number of Hong Kong prominent businessmen are represented. One of them is Anthony Nightingale. Anthony will hold a very important position as the next Chairman of the ABAC Trade Facilitation Committee.

     APEC has set itself a goal to reduce transaction costs by another 5% by 2010, on which APEC has pledged full support with ABAC towards its goal. On our part, the SAR Government and Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau will also be participating actively in the area of trade facilitation and be providing through the Trade and Industry Department, so that there will be entrenched staffing support to Anthony.

     A few words on Viet Nam.  Viet Name is one of the most dynamic economies in the region.  People round this reception can testify to that. We have a very strong Hong Kong Business Association in Viet Nam.  The people have been investing a lot and doing business with Viet Nam for a very long time. I am sure this trend will continue.   The Hong Kong Trade Development Council has an office in Ho Chi Minh City since 1997. Cathay Pacific, I have no doubt, will be doing more businesses.

     I will expect closer and much more prosperous business ties between Viet Nam and Hong Kong to the benefit of both economies. I would like to invite the Chief Executive to deliver his remarks.

Ends/Friday, November 17, 2006
Issued at HKT 21:13