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DGTI's speech at Hong Kong International Toys Festival 2009 Kick Off Ceremony (English Only)

     Following is the speech by Director-General of Trade and Industry, Mr Joseph Lai, at the Hong Kong International Toys Festival 2009 Launch Ceremony today (January 5):

Lawrence, David, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my pleasure to be invited to this important annual event of Hong Kong's toys industry. I am delighted to see many familiar faces around and I also wish to extend my warmest welcome to guests from overseas. Let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year.

     The toy industry is one of the founding industries which helped build Hong Kong into a world trade centre. The hard work of our toy makers over the past few decades has turned Hong Kong into an international toy centre. Including re-exports, Hong Kong is now the world's second largest toy exporter. Toys made by Hong Kong range from the more traditional, classic items like dolls and toy guns to the more sophisticated items such as multi-media and web-compatible products. I am proud to say that our toys are renowned for their high quality, safety standard, creativity and affordability.

     Those in the toys business long enough could probably tell you that our road to becoming a leader in toy production has never been smooth. But our entrepreneurs, known for their flexibility and adaptability, are always capable of reacting quickly to changing situations. I trust many of you would agree that the past few years were particularly challenging for our toy industry. There have been changes in the Mainland's legislation and policies that affect all manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta and beyond. The toy industry also has to face additional challenges arising from more stringent safety standards set by our major markets, including the US. Then there were the various recall incidents. In recent months, the economic downturn caused by the global financial crisis has further aggravated the situation.

     No doubt we are experiencing a very difficult moment right now, but we need not be too pessimistic. Challenges always bring opportunities. Looking from a more positive side, we see that oil prices have come down substantially. The costs of other raw materials have also dropped. All these should help to relieve the pressure on production cost. More importantly, governments around the world are sparing no effort to tackle the problem. Here in Hong Kong, the Government has also taken prompt and forceful actions. For example, we have just launched a $100 billion Special Loan Guarantee Scheme to assist Hong Kong enterprises in obtaining loans from lending institutions. We also see the announcement of many concrete measures to stabilise the financial sector and to create jobs. When the effects of these actions are filtered through, they will help regain confidence and restore the vigor of our economy.

     The Hong Kong International Toys Festival, which is held in conjunction with the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair, is a valuable opportunity for us all to showcase our best products to the world and to learn the latest trends in the industry. The event is attracting many people in the toy industry both locally and from other parts of the world. I wish the festival every success. Thank you.

Ends/Monday, January 5, 2009
Issued at HKT 20:07


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