CS starts visit to Germany (with photos)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Stephen Lam, began his visit to Berlin, Germany on October 24 (Berlin time).

     In the evening, Mr Lam delivered a keynote speech at a gala dinner held by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin (Berlin ETO). Earlier in the day, he met with German Federal Government officials in charge of foreign, financial and cultural affairs and Berlin State Government officials. He also toured the city's famous Museum Island.

     At the dinner, Mr Lam spoke to some 200 guests including government officials, members of the German Parliament, and representatives from business and social sectors. He reviewed the co-operation between Hong Kong and Germany and updated the audience on Hong Kong's latest developments, including the work of developing Hong Kong as an international financial centre and offshore Renminbi services centre, as well as the prospects of the service industries and six new industries.

     He emphasised that Hong Kong people had confidence in Germany's high-end, high quality, high value-added products. He encouraged German companies to seize the business opportunities offered by Hong Kong and invest in the financial, pharmaceutical, technological, environmental, and creative industries.

     In the afternoon, he called on the German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Guido Westerwelle; Federal Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble; and the Minister of State to the Federal Chancellor, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Mr Bernd Neumann.

     Mr Lam gave them an update on the latest economic, social and political developments in Hong Kong.

     Regarding the financial crisis in the Euro Zone, Mr Lam reflected to the Ministers that Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, attached great importance to the early and effective resolution of the Euro Zone issues. He trusted that the successful resolution of the issues would help sustain the confidence in the global financial market.

     Mr Lam briefed his German counterparts on measures being adopted by the Hong Kong Government to enhance Hong Kong's role as an offshore Renminbi services centre. He referred to the range of specific measures announced by Vice-Premier of the State Council, Mr Li Keqiang, during the latter's recent visit to Hong Kong. He invited the German business community to take advantage of the opportunities by investing in Hong Kong.

     He also took the opportunity to brief the officials on the implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" and the progress achieved on the front of constitutional development.

     At a meeting with the Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Economy, Technology and Women's Issues, Mr Harald Wolf, Mr Lam expressed his wish to further promote economic and cultural exchanges between Berlin and Hong Kong.  Noting that Germany was the partner of Hong Kong Business of Design Week this year, Mr Lam welcomed Berlin's creative talent to participate in this event.  

     Mr Lam, who also chairs the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, briefed the interlocutors on the progress of the cultural district project. He hopes to see West Kowloon becoming the platform for strengthening bilateral cultural exchanges and attracting top German arts groups to stage performances and exhibitions.

     Mr Lam visited four famous museums on Museum Island in Berlin in the morning. The island, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999, serves as the city's arts and cultural hub, with five museums housing archaeological excavation and 19th century art pieces. The museums attract some 1.5 million visitors every year.

     The Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Miss Mary Chow, and the Director of the Berlin ETO, Mr Stephen Wong, accompanied Mr Lam during the visit.

     Mr Lam will continue his visit in Berlin today (October 25, Berlin time), meeting members of the German Parliament and the business community.

Ends/Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Issued at HKT 09:38