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SCED's speech at "Style Hong Kong in Moscow" - Gala Night (English only) (with photos)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, at "Style Hong Kong in Moscow" - Gala Night held tonight (September 26) in Moscow:

Distinguished guests, ladies and Gentlemen,

     Good evening and welcome. I am delighted that you have joined us here at this evening's gala event to celebrate the emerging partnership between Hong Kong and Russia.

     Hong Kong today has some seven million people, which is, I believe less than half the population of Moscow, and less than one twentieth of the population of Russia. Russia is a vast country, rich in natural resources, whereas Hong Kong covers an area not much bigger than Greater Moscow and our only natural resource is a strategically located deep-water harbour.

     At first glance, therefore, Hong Kong and Russia might appear to be rather unlikely partners ˇV even something of an "odd couple".

     But here I should point out that, despite our modest size, Hong Kong is the world's 11th largest trading entity. Perhaps even more importantly, we derive much of this economic strength from our position as the gateway to Southern China. Hong Kong companies have decades of experience in the Chinese market, and with the Mainland emerging as the world's most dynamic economy, driven largely by activity in the Pearl River Delta, right on Hong Kongˇ¦s doorstep, our unique position offers a wealth of opportunities to our entrepreneurs and their overseas partners, not only in the field of trade, but also in financial and investment services.

     As Russia's economy grows and new markets in China open up to investment, we see potential for significant levels of partnership between Russian and Hong Kong businesses, against a background of continued development and demand for resources and financial services in the Pearl River Delta and the neighbouring regions of China.

     This is an issue I shall discuss in more detail when I speak in St Petersburg this Friday at a seminar on the opportunities that Hong Kong can offer. For now, suffice to say that Russia and Hong Kong are not really such an "odd couple" after all.

     I hope that some of you here this evening have had a chance to visit the "Style Hong Kong in Moscow" exhibition that opened earlier today at the Manezh Exhibition Centre. The exhibition showcases some of the latest fashion, electronics and other consumer goods to come out of our city, clearly demonstrating that, as well as providing a gateway to the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong is also a centre for sourcing branded products that appeal to high end consumers from around the world.

     I am well aware that Russia's economic growth is encouraging greater sophistication and more cosmopolitan tastes, and Hong Kong offers a range of high-end products that will appeal to consumers who look for stylish and innovative design.

     Hong Kong is a great city for business, but we also enjoy our leisure time. One of our particular strengths is bringing together the best of the East and the West, and as you will find this evening, although the focus is on Hong Kong's brightest and most beautiful, we will enhance the flavour of the evening by also presenting some of the finest that Moscow has to offer.

     Before we go on with the show, please allow me to thank the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the lead organiser of this weekˇ¦s events - and in particular, Executive Director Fred Lam, who is with us this evening. Fred and his team have done a great job in putting together a full and varied programme.

     Finally, I would like to thank you all for joining us tonight, and I wish you an enjoyable and memorable evening.

     Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Issued at HKT 23:57


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