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Japanese businesses invited to leverage on Hong Kong's advantages (with photos)

     Japanese businesses are invited to seize the many trade and investment opportunities Hong Kong offers, the Principal Hong Kong Economic and Trade Representative (Tokyo), Ms Sally Wong, said in Sendai city, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, today (August 27).

     They are welcome to choose Hong Kong as their partner in expanding into the global market, she added.

     Speaking to some 140 guests at a Hong Kong business seminar, Ms Wong presented the many exciting business opportunities and advantages of Hong Kong which Japanese businesses can benefit from.

     "Hong Kong has always been a staunch supporter and practitioner of free trade and free markets. We have a free flow of capital and no foreign exchange controls.

     "Apart from its freedom, Hong Kong has a very low and simple tax system. There is no consumption tax, no capital gains tax and no inheritance tax either.

     "We have a clean, transparent and efficient government, zero tolerance for corruption and a level playing field for all. Common law is practised in Hong Kong, and the legal system is underpinned by an independent judiciary," Ms Wong said.

     These fundamental strengths have made Hong Kong the world's freest economy as rated by the US-based Heritage Foundation for 18 years in a row. 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.

     Overseas companies have also cast a vote of confidence in Hong Kong, as evidenced by the presence of around 7,000 overseas companies in the city.

     "Of these, more than 220 regional headquarters and 900 regional or local offices were set up by Japanese companies, making up the second largest group of overseas companies next to those from the United States," Ms Wong added.

     For Japanese companies hoping to tap the vast and fast growing China market, Ms Wong pointed out that Hong Kong, being the gateway to China, would be their best partner.

     "We have a unique free trade agreement with Mainland China - the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), which makes Hong Kong an ideal springboard for businesses to enter the Mainland market.

     "Under CEPA, all products that are 'Made in Hong Kong' are exempt from tariffs when entering the Mainland. Because CEPA rules are nationality-neutral, companies from Miyagi and Sendai and around the world can enjoy the same benefits as local Hong Kong firms if they set up business in Hong Kong or partner with Hong Kong companies to fulfil the CEPA rules," she said.

     Ms Wong noted that Hong Kong's role as China's global financial centre has continued to expand, adding that Hong Kong handled RMB1.9 trillion, or about 92 per cent of all global trade settlements in RMB, last year.

     "To further diversify our economic base, Hong Kong is developing six new growth industries, which are medical services, testing and certification, education services, innovation and technology, creative and cultural industries, and green industries," she said.

     Ms Wong said she believes there is plenty of scope for Hong Kong and Japan to co-operate and grow together.

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

     Representatives from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Tourism Board also spoke at the seminar respectively on doing business and living in Hong Kong and opportunities for the travel industry. A representative of Izunuma Nosan, a Japanese company which does business in Hong Kong, shared his company's experience with the audience.

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

Ends/Monday, August 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30


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