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Hong Kong holds 15th anniversary reception in Seoul (with photos)

     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office held a dinner reception in Seoul this evening (July 3) to share the joy of the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland with its close trading partner Korea.

     Speaking to some 300 guests including representatives from the government, political and business sector, academics and professionals, the Principal Hong Kong Economic and Trade Representative, Ms Sally Wong, outlined the unique advantages enjoyed by Hong Kong under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.

     "We have maintained a high degree of autonomy as laid down in the Basic Law, which is our mini-constitution. We have our own currency, our separate customs territory and our own common law legal system underpinned by an independent judiciary, and we are a full individual member of international bodies such as the World Trade Organization and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

     "With the successful implementation of this principle, Hong Kong has been able to maintain its competitiveness and vibrancy despite the many challenges faced both internally and externally, as reflected by its average annual economic growth of 4.5 per cent in the past 10 years," Ms Wong said.

     In addition, the US-based Heritage Foundation has named Hong Kong as number one for economic freedom for 18 years in a row, and just two months ago the International Institute for Management Development based in Switzerland reaffirmed Hong Kong as the world's most competitive economy for the second consecutive year, she added.

     "Just four days ago, Hong Kong signed a further supplementary agreement with the Mainland on their free trade pact, the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, for greater liberalisation of the services trade.

     "The further measures to strengthen co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong announced on the eve of the 15th anniversary would also promote the economic and social development of Hong Kong.

     "These measures underscore the important role Hong Kong plays in promoting cross-border use of Renminbi and reflects the Central Government's support for enhancing Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre," Ms Wong said.

     Looking into the future, Ms Wong said Hong Kong would diversify its economic base by developing six new growth industries with clear potential, in addition to reinforcing its strength in its traditionally strong sectors including financial services and tourism.

     "Hong Kong and Korea have maintained close trade and economic ties for many years. The total value of our bilateral trade last year exceeded US$27 billion, and we are the sixth largest trading partner for each other," she said.

     Ms Wong said she believes Hong Kong's various new developments will give Korean companies plenty of scope to co-operate with Hong Kong and grow together.

     "Our relationship extends well beyond trade and economics. There is much room for us to enhance our ties in arts and culture as well as tourism too," she added.

     Ms Wong will also hold a business seminar jointly with the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Seoul tomorrow (July 4) to introduce in more detail the latest economic situation and business environment in Hong Kong.

Ends/Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:32


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