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SCED's speech at HK reception in Sydney (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, at the reception for Hong Kong businessmen and prominent local interlocutors in Sydney today (September 6):

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Welcome to this reception for Hong Kong businessmen and our friends in Sydney.

     I have the honour to host this reception on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region today while the Chief Executive and I attend the APEC Ministerial Meeting and APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.  These two days, APEC Ministers have had some energetic and fruitful discussions on the recent work of APEC, and on the initiatives to be undertaken in 2008.  

     As you know, APEC economies together account for close to 50% of world trade.  They also account for over 80% of Hong Kong's total trade.  Thirteen of the world's top 25 trading economies are members of APEC.

     APEC's facilitating initiatives have helped reduce business costs and time by e.g. simplifying customs procedures; enhancing business mobility; and promoting the alignment of member economies' respective product standards regimes.  All members are also jointly advocating for lowering of tariffs and removal of non-tariff and behind-the-border barriers.

     In APEC, Australia and Hong Kong share many common values and interests in trade and investment liberalisation, including support for the multilateral trading system and trade facilitation. We also work together on initiatives to promote public awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights. Hong Kong is pleased to be able to chair the Intellectual Property Rights Experts' Group under APEC in the coming two years, which underlined our continued commitment in protecting IPR.

     We are in a good position to join hands to reap the benefits offered by new business opportunities.  One of the most exciting opportunities today and in the foreseeable future is the huge Mainland China market.  For overseas businessmen who want to enter this market, Hong Kong is the gateway.

     I would encourage business partnership between Australia and Hong Kong to make greater use of Hong Kong's unique advantage in terms of our physical proximity with the Mainland, as well as our first class infrastructure and our highly competitive business and professional services.

     I would also encourage Australian entrepreneurs to make good use of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, or "CEPA", between the Mainland and Hong Kong.  The demand in Mainland China for the provision of quality services, and the further liberalisation measures under CEPA in areas such as medical services, environmental services and financial services mean that there are increasing business opportunities for Hong Kong-based partnerships.

     The growing partnership between China and Australia creates exciting opportunities for further trade and investment and for increased economic development.  In Hong Kong, we have a sizeable Australian community.  We look forward to welcoming more Australian investors and business people to come to Hong Kong and to enjoy the advantages that we can offer when seeking to trade with, and invest in China.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, September 6, 2007
Issued at HKT 18:22


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