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SCED's speech at "Style Hong Kong in Moscow" (English only) (with photo)
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Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, at the opening ceremony of "Syle Hong Kong in Moscow" held today (September 26) in Moscow:


Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     Good morning and welcome to the "Style Hong Kong in Moscow" exhibition.  

     This exhibition marks a key milestone in the relationship between Russia and Hong Kong. It is the first time that so many companies, so many products íV indeed, so much of Hong Kong íV have come to your country.

     This is also my first visit to Russia, and in my short time here, I have been impressed by the beauty and dynamism of Moscow. Visiting the famous GUM department store yesterday morning, it was clear to me that Russian consumers have a keen appreciation of style and quality, and I believe that this is something that is shared by Hong Kong people.

     Over the next four days, "Style Hong Kong in Moscow" will showcase a rich variety of high quality brand products from more than 200 Hong Kong companies. You will have the chance to view merchandise ranging from fashion and accessories to travel goods, household products, toys, gifts, watches and audiovisual and telecommunications equipment, products which epitomise Hong Kong people's eye for style and innovation.

     As well as designing and producing top quality consumer goods, another of Hong Kong's traditional strengths is creating new business partnerships and opportunities. In particular, our position as the gateway to the mainland of China offers considerable advantages both to our own entrepreneurs and to our partners from other economies.

     In recent years we have noticed growing interest from Russian companies in sourcing products from the Pearl River Delta region, for which Hong Kong is the major trading hub.  Translated into figures, the total trade between Hong Kong and Russia rose by 23 per cent in the first half of this year, to about US$650 million.  

     This growth in trading volume clearly indicates that Russian businesses are increasingly aware of the benefits of establishing operations in Hong Kong. Thanks to our unique position as a Special Administrative Region of China, we are able to maintain a distinct trading identity operate under a separate customs regime. We have world-class infrastructure, a freely convertible currency and a business environment that benefits from a low and simple tax system and a regulatory structure that ensures a level playing-field for investors.

     The ease and efficiency of doing business in Hong Kong attracts entrepreneurs from around the globe, and some 1 200 overseas companies now base their Asia operations there. I welcome Russian companies to set up regional headquarters and offices in Hong Kong and establish partnerships to explore opportunities in Asia, and I am sure that this event will help to promote such opportunities, to the benefit of all concerned.

     "Style Hong Kong in Moscow" is part of Hong Kong Week in Russia, which will take place in Moscow and St Petersburg until September 29. Apart from this exhibition, we will also present fashion shows, entertainment and a special gala evening of Hong Kong food, fashion and culture, which will take place tonight at the Surikov Hall.

     In addition, if you tune in to TV Rossiya's "Good Morning, Russia!" this week, you will have the chance to learn more about our city, as the programme is featuring a five-day spotlight on Hong Kong and its cosmopolitan lifestyle, presented in cooperation with the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

     This series of events would not have been possible without the hard work of the organisers, and in closing I would like to thank the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Hong Kong ExportersíŽ Association and the Hong Kong Fur Federation for their efforts in putting together this varied and spectacular programme. I would also like to thank the supporting Russian organisations, namely the Russian-Chinese Business Council, Delovaya Rossiya and RATEK, the Russian Association of Consumer Electronics and Household Electric Appliances Importers and Distributors.

     Ladies and Gentleman, I now invite you to enjoy "Style Hong Kong in Moscow", and to experience the creativity and quality that exemplifies Hong Kong's position as Asia's World City.

     Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Issued at HKT 17:12

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