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CE starts visit to New Zealand (with photos)

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, started his visit to New Zealand today (April 10, Auckland time), during which he hopes to promote bilateral trade between the two places and enhance Hong Kong's position as an international financial centre in the Asian time zone and China's premier offshore Renminbi centre.

     On his arrival in Auckland, Mr Tsang met with the New Zealand Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, and other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and briefed them on Hong Kong's latest developments. Following the visit of a high level Maori business delegation to China in 2010, Dr Sharples will lead another business delegation to visit China and Hong Kong in May this year.

     The Chief Executive then attended a dinner hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Murray McCully.

     In the next two days, Mr Tsang will meet the Minister of Trade, Mr Tim Groser, and the Deputy Mayor of Auckland, Ms Penny Hulse.

     The Chief Executive will also speak at a luncheon on Hong Kong's strengths and attractions for New Zealand businesses organised by Export New Zealand, the Employers and Manufacturers Association and the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association.

     He will visit some local commercial facilities, including the FoodBowl and the Zealong Tea Estate. The FoodBowl, located near Auckland International Airport, is New Zealand's only accredited food and beverage pre-production facility. It is open to food and beverage companies and operators for developing, testing and proving new products.

     Located in Waikato region with over 50 hectares of land, the Zealong Tea Estate is a Taiwanese family-owned company with 10 hectares of tea in full production. The company has plans to expand its business in the Asian market and set up a trading company in Hong Kong.
     Food and beverage processing is one of the largest industry sectors in southern  Auckland, employing over 5,460 people in the area and over 73,500 in New Zealand, with a growth rate of over 5 per cent per year.

    New Zealand was the first overseas economy to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Hong Kong, which came into force in January 2011. As a comprehensive and high quality free trade agreement, it covers a wide range of areas of mutual interest, including liberalisation measures covering trade in goods and services, as well as initiatives to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties.

     Bilateral trade between Hong Kong and New Zealand last year grew to over NZ$1.2 billion (HK$8.2 billion), an 11 per cent increase year-on-year.

     As at June 1, 2011, six regional offices had been set up by New Zealand companies in Hong Kong.

Ends/Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:31


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