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Hong Kong holds business seminar in Hiroshima (with photos)

     Hong Kong, with its fundamental strengths and strategic location in Asia, offers many opportunities for Japanese companies considering expansion overseas, the Principal Hong Kong Economic and Trade Representative (Tokyo), Ms Sally Wong, said at a business seminar in Hiroshima, Japan, today (August 2).

     The seminar, organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Tokyo), drew the attendance of about 130 people from the government and business sectors who were briefed on the many advantages and opportunities Hong Kong possesses.

     "Hong Kong maintains a mature and stable business relationship with Japan, which is our third largest trading partner in the world. Hong Kong has been Japan's largest overseas market in the world for food and agricultural products since 2005. It is encouraging to see that bilateral trade between the two places increased by 4 per cent last year despite the many difficulties brought about by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident," Ms Wong said.

     "With the many new developments in various areas in Hong Kong, we believe that there is a huge potential for stronger trade and investment between Japan and Hong Kong."

     Under the successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle since its return to China in 1997, Hong Kong has been strengthening its co-operation with the Mainland on trade and economic fronts while maintaining its own system, including its own freely convertible currency, a separate customs territory and a common law legal system underpinned by an independent judiciary.

     "We remain firmly committed to open markets, free trade and business-friendly policies.

     "Our efforts were recognised by the US-based Heritage Foundation, which has named Hong Kong as number one for economic freedom for 18 years in a row. And in May this year the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development reaffirmed Hong Kong as the world's most competitive economy for the second consecutive year," Ms Wong said.

     Turning to the new developments in Hong Kong arising from closer economic co-operation with the Mainland, Ms Wong pointed out that Hong Kong is China's global financial centre and that its role as a centre for offshore Renminbi (RMB) business, including RMB banking, trade settlement and bond issuance, keeps on expanding.

     "The latest measures announced by the Central Government in this aspect include the issuing of more RMB sovereign and non-sovereign bonds in Hong Kong, promotion of cross-border RMB business between Hong Kong and neighbouring Guangdong Province, expanding the trade settlement in RMB through Hong Kong and developing an offshore RMB loan market.

     "These measures signify the Central Government's support and underscore the important role Hong Kong plays in the development of offshore RMB business globally," she said.

     Hong Kong also reached a free trade pact with the Mainland, the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), under which all products which are "Made in Hong Kong" are exempt from tariffs when entering the Mainland. CEPA rules are nationality neutral.

     "In other words, overseas firms, incorporated in Hong Kong and complying with certain rules, can enjoy the full benefits of CEPA," Ms Wong said.

     Ms Wong noted that Hong Kong is developing six new growth industries with clear potential to diversify its economic base. They are medical services, testing and certification, education services, innovation and technology, creative and cultural industries and green industries.

     "Since Japan, and Hiroshima in particular, is one of the leading players in these sectors, we believe there is plenty of scope for us to co-operate and grow together.

     "We welcome companies from Hiroshima, be they big corporations or small and medium enterprises, to take advantage of Hong Kong's many business opportunities," she said.

     Representatives from Invest Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Otafuku Sauce Co Ltd, a Japanese company which does business in Hong Kong, also spoke at the seminar and shared their insight and experience in doing business in or with Hong Kong.

     A Hong Kong Tourism Board representative also introduced to the participants Hong Kong as a place for both business and pleasure, including its tourist attractions.

     The seminar was one of the events to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Ends/Thursday, August 2, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:08


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