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SCED shares Hong Kong "game plan" with Canadian businesses (with photo)

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, today (November 25, Vancouver time) shared with the Vancouver business community Hong Kong's "game plan" to sustain its economic development and the opportunities available in Hong Kong amid the global financial crisis.

     Speaking at a luncheon seminar entitled "Global Financial Crisis:  Hong Kong's Game Plan and Canadian Opportunities", Mrs Lau said no economy in the world could escape the fierce damaging force of the current financial tsunami, but Hong Kong could always "turn crisis into opportunity" and a "game plan" had been formulated to deal with the upcoming challenges.

     The seminar, organised by the Vancouver Board of Trade, and co-presented by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Canada and the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association, was attended by 220 guests, mostly business leaders.  

     Outlining some of the measures being taken, Mrs Lau said Hong Kong had adopted temporary measures to provide liquidity assistance to its licensed banks, and the Government had decided to give full guarantee of deposits held with all authorised institutions.  

     "I want to emphasise that Hong Kong's banking system remains strong and robust, with capitalisation well above international standards.The measures aim mainly to promote confidence and monetary stability in Hong Kong," she said.

     Mrs Lau added that the Government had set up a Special SME Loan Guarantee Scheme to help small and medium-sized enterprises obtain bank credits and offered better protection for exporters.  

     Despite an expected budget deficit, Hong Kong would maintain its public expenditure on infrastructure.  "We will expedite many of the major infrastructural projects," she said, citing the new cruise terminal and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge as examples.

     Mrs Lau told the seminar that the signing of the Fifth Annex to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Hong Kong and the Mainland would present many opportunities for Canadian businesses.

     She urged them, especially those from the wine industry,  environmental technology, IT and innovation sectors in British Columbia, to take advantage of this  arrangement. "Canadian companies can either set up operations in Hong Kong, or find registered Hong Kong companies as partners," she said.

     Mrs Lau said that the Mainland was the biggest wine importer in Asia. "Strong economic growth, increasing prosperity and changes in lifestyle have led to demands for wine on the Mainland  going up dramatically.

     "To help our trade capitalise on this growing market, we reduced our wine duty from 40% to zero earlier this year. That makes Hong Kong the first free wine port among the major economies," she said.

     "As for the environment, Hong Kong is further strengthening its co-operation on environmental protection with the Guangdong provincial government.  We have reached a consensus with Guangdong on jointly transforming the Pearl River Delta Region into a green and quality living area by promoting environmental protection and sustainable development," Mrs Lau said.

     On this, she believed that companies and service providers in Canada that could offer green technologies and management practices should be interested in the opportunities available.

     On innovation and technology, Mrs Lau said that as the Mainland's 11th Five Year Plan stressed the upgrading of the capability and technology level of its enterprises, Hong Kong enterprises had a key and active role to play in supporting the Mainland's technological development, and Canadian businesses could tap into it through Hong Kong.

     Following the luncheon, Mrs Lau met the Vancouver media and discussed with them the economic situation in Hong Kong. She wrapped up the Vancouver leg of her trip by visiting the Emily Carr University, which is renowned for its influence on the development and growth of the arts in Canada and internationally.

Ends/Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Issued at HKT 17:24


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