Email this article Government Homepage
FS speaks at HK Exporters' Association Christmas Luncheon (English only)(with photo)

    Following is the full text of the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the Hong Kong Exporters' Association Christmas Luncheon 2006 at Island Shangri-La Hotel this (December 14) afternoon:

Mr [Tom] Tang, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     Good afternoon.  I am most delighted to be here to attend the Christmas luncheon of the Hong Kong Exporters' Association.  We are here to share the joy of the festive season and the success of Hong Kong's exporters in sustaining our economic growth in the past year.

     Hong Kong is the world's 11th largest trading entity and a premier trading hub in the Asia Pacific region.  Our total exports amounted to over $2.2 trillion last year, an 11% increase over 2004.  And the growth momentum continues into this year.  The robust performance of the export sector is no doubt the result of the tireless efforts of our exporters and the Association, which has been taking an active role in improving Hong Kong's business environment to facilitate Hong Kong's export and re-export trade.

     The past decade saw a further integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland economy.  And Hong Kong exporters have been among the first to grasp the opportunities.  Factories operated by Hong Kong entrepreneurs in the Mainland have produced commodities that are exported to practically every corner of the world.  

     The Government is committed to supporting the exporter sector through enhancing the competitiveness of the sector collectively and promoting their business opportunities in the Mainland market.  For example, the continuous discussions and implementation of the Hong Kong-Mainland Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) have further opened up opportunities for Hong Kong's exporters ahead of and beyond the commitments of China in the World Trade Organization.  Since the beginning of this year, all Hong Kong products that meet the relevant rules of origin can enjoy zero-tariff entry into the Mainland market.  I am sure many of you are already making a good use of this first-mover advantage.

     While Hong Kong has positioned itself strategically as a two-way trade and investment platform between the Mainland market and the rest of the world, we cannot afford to set our sights on the Mainland market only and neglect other forces that are rapidly reshaping the global economy.  Hong Kong needs to continue to consolidate our status as an international business hub.  

     The National 11th Five-Year Plan has explicitly stated that support will be given to maintain "Hong Kong's status as an international financial, trade and shipping centre".  I am glad that the Association shares this vision and is dedicated to exploring new market opportunities together with other members of the Hong Kong Inc. to promote Hong Kong's export trade.  The Association just co-organised the "Style Hong Kong" trade fair in Budapest, Hungary with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) in September this year.  The event successfully brought together thousands of innovation and brand products from Hong Kong companies.  The Association and TDC have also jointly organised another business partnership mission to St. Petersburg and Moscow of Russia to help Hong Kong exporters explore business opportunities in this emerging market for household, gift and electronics products.

     The trading sector is one of the largest contributors to Hong Kong's economy, especially when its indirect contribution is taken into account.  A booming trade sector will generate considerable business opportunities for other service sectors, such as financial and logistics services.  The Government will provide every support we can to the exporters, in particular our small and medium enterprises, which is the backbone of our economy.  While TDC has been actively helping Hong Kong exporters to open new markets, the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) is providing credit advisory services and insurance protection to help our exporters manage their credit risks.  

     In closing, I would like to thank the Association sincerely for your contribution to our continuous economic growth and wish our exporters an even more successful year ahead.  May I also wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.  

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, December 14, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:41