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CS officiated at the Official Opening Ceremony cum Gala Dinner of Berlin ETO (with photos)
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     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), Berlin, held its Official Opening Ceremony cum Gala Dinner on March 21 (Berlin time) in Berlin, to mark the set up of the new representative office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in Berlin.

     The ceremony in Berlin had the privilege to have the officiating Guest of Honour, the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, unveil the commemorative plaque of the Official Opening through a video, his personal attendance having been held back because of the recent event in Japan. In his speech, Mr Tang thanked nearly 400 guests for joining the opening ceremony and pointed out that "the opening of our Berlin ETO marks the start of a new era for closer relations between Hong Kong and Germany, which is our largest single trading partner in the EU. Berlin also provides a convenient and highly efficient base from which to reach markets throughout Central and Eastern Europe."

     "On the other hand, Asia, and particularly the Mainland of China, are experiencing rapid economic growth and development, with Hong Kong right in the thick of the action. Now, with a permanent home in Berlin, I have no doubt that our Berlin ETO team will continue to do an excellent job in promoting Hong Kong as the best partner in Asia," Mr Tang added.

     In addition to the Chinese Ambassador to Germany, Mr Wu Hongbo, the event was also graced by the State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office, Dr Peter Ammon and the Permanent Secretary of the Berlin Government Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Women's Issues, Ms Almuth Hartwig-Tiedt.

     Ms Hartwig-Tiedt remarked in her speech, "the Hong Kong Representation is an important partner for us. Please allow me to add that the Hong Kong ETO is the only regional representative office in Germany that has a quasi-diplomatic status."

     "Berlin has a strong interest in collaboration with Hong Kong in various fields. As an example I would like to highlight the Business of Design Week 2011. Germany is partner country this year and I am happy that the International Design Centre Berlin is co-organising the German presentation. The Berlin Government is going to support designers from Berlin, who want to participate at the Hong Kong events in autumn this year. I am looking forward to strengthening and continuing the Berlin íV Hong Kong co-operation in the creative sector in this way. I do wish the very best for the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in their new premises in Jaegerstrasse", she added.

     The theme of the Official Opening of the HKETO, Berlin, "Pair up with Hong Kong - Your best partner in Asia" is also echoed by Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Guido Westerwelle.  In his message for the souvenir programme of the Official Opening, Dr Westerwelle said "Hong Kong is an important trading partner and gateway to the Chinese market for Germany. The legal certainty and extensive experience in trade and finance that Hong Kong offers make it a reliable partner and a mediator between Germany and China."

     "The set up of the new office in Berlin is testament to our Government's commitment to fostering closer economic and trade ties between Hong Kong and Germany, as well as seven neighbouring countries in this part of Europe. I am confident that the opening of the HKETO, Berlin will add further impetus to enhancing the mutual understanding and strengthening the partnership," Director of HKETO, Berlin, Mr Stephen Wong, said in his welcome remarks.

     Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Miss Mary Chow, nearly 100 senior diplomats, about 50 senior government officials, business community, academia and the media also attended the reception, which included performances of a lion dance group; a piano quartet by German violinist Julia-Maria Kretz and violist Hartmut Rohde together with cellist Trey Lee and pianist Colleen Lee from Hong Kong; and a cabaret performance by the spouse of the immediate past Consul General in Hong Kong, Ms Eva Meier.

     The guests were also invited to have a preview of the "Hong Kong: Creative Ecologies", exhibition.  The exhibition features six main sectors: Business Meets Design, Legacy Innovators, Image Builders, Urban Culture Interpreters, Brand Creators and International Talents, manifesting the iconic works from both established and young designers in Hong Kong by a focused selection of the exhibits shown at Expo 2010 Shanghai China.

     The "Hong Kong: Creative Ecologies" exhibition will be open to the general public from March 25 till December 9, at the HKETO, Berlin.

Ends/Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Issued at HKT 01:46

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