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CE concludes visit to Europe (with photos/videos)

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, agreed with the Scottish Government to strengthen collaboration in a number of areas on the last full day of his visit to Europe in Edinburgh on September 15 (Edinburgh time).

     The Chief Executive and the First Minister of Scotland, Mr Alex Salmond, acknowledged in a bilateral meeting held in the evening that there was much to learn from each other and agreed that the exchange of people, experience, information, ideas and practices would lead to increased understanding and friendship.

     Both sides agreed to continue to work together to strengthen collaboration in areas including trade and investment, education, culture and sport. (Details of the meeting outcomes are in the annex.)

     After the meeting, Mr Tsang addressed a reception hosted by the First Minister in the Chief Executive's honour.

     "Scotland, with its rich heritage and proven track record for bright ideas, is an ideal partner for Hong Kong. In parallel, Hong Kong provides a dynamic business-friendly environment right in the heart of Asia for Scottish businesses to fulfil their potential.

     "I am confident that the future for our bilateral relations remains extremely bright," Mr Tsang said.

     The Chief Executive started the hectic schedule of the day by meeting the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Mr Michael Russell, and members of the Scottish education sector over a working breakfast.

     Mr Tsang encouraged Scottish students to study in Hong Kong and take advantage of the city's relaxed immigration and employment restrictions for overseas students. He also sought the support of the Scottish Government for Hong Kong's new senior secondary school curriculum and exchanged views on strengthening collaboration in curriculum development.

     The Chief Executive then met the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, Mr John Swinney, before attending the "Hong Kong: China's Global Financial Centre" seminar organised by Invest Hong Kong, Scottish Development International and Scottish Financial Enterprise.

     In his address at the seminar, Mr Tsang highlighted Hong Kong's strengths as both a global financial centre and as China's most important city for international finance.

     "As China's global financial centre, the internationalisation of the Renminbi is a vitally important area for Hong Kong.

     "Under 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong will be the main testing ground for the wider international use of the Renminbi."

     Mr Tsang said Hong Kong would use its special status as China's offshore Renminbi centre to play a greater role in the international financial community.

     The seminar was followed by a visit to the Biofuel Research Centre of Edinburgh Napier University, where the Chief Executive was briefed on the development of renewable and sustainable biofuels.

     At noon, the Chief Executive addressed a luncheon with the business community co-hosted by Scottish Development International and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London.

     Noting that Hong Kong had continued to evolve as the premier international gateway to China since its reunification with Mainland China, Mr Tsang said the city was fully geared up to provide overseas firms with their best chance of success in China and the wider Asian region.

     "We welcome more Scottish companies to come to Hong Kong and to enjoy the benefits of being based in a major city in China, but a city with its own distinct systems and way of life," the Chief Executive said.

     In the afternoon, Mr Tsang visited the Roslin Institute, where he was briefed on the development of regenerative medicine and stem cell research.

     The Chief Executive will conclude his visit to Europe and depart Edinburgh for Hong Kong today (September 16, Edinburgh time).

Ends/Friday, September 16, 2011
Issued at HKT 11:25


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