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Hong Kong enhances mutual ties with Hyogo, Japan (with photos)

     The bilateral relationship between Hong Kong and Japan's Hyogo prefecture will soon enter a new chapter with the opening of the Hyogo Business and Tourism Centre in Hong Kong in November.

     The Principal Hong Kong Economic and Trade Representative (Tokyo), Ms Sally Wong, said that the centre also underlines the importance and priority the prefecture attaches to Hong Kong.

     In advance of the Hyogo centre's opening, Ms Wong hosted a business seminar in Kobe, the capital city of the prefecture, today (September 4) to promote closer ties and brief the local government and business sectors on the advantages and business opportunities offered by Hong Kong.

     Ms Wong pointed out that Hong Kong's free economy and strategic location in Asia are two key strengths that make the city an ideal place to do business.

     "We have always been a staunch supporter and practitioner of free trade and free markets. We have a free flow of capital and information. We maintain a liberal investment regime and foreigners are free to invest in business or property.

     "These have gained us the title of the world's freest economy as rated by the US based Heritage Foundation for 18 years in a row," she said.

     Strategically located on China's doorstep, Hong Kong serves as both Asia's logistics hub and the gateway to China, Ms Wong added.

     "Our growing trade and economic relations with Mainland China through the free trade agreement, the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), and the continuous expansion of our role as China's global financial centre, have made Hong Kong the perfect springboard for overseas businesses to access the vast and fast-growing market of Mainland China.

     "The CEPA rules are nationality-neutral. Companies from Hyogo 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.

     "Our role as China's global financial centre is underscored by the fact that Hong Kong is the only place to have an offshore Renminbi (RMB) bond market. Last year, we handled 1.9 trillion RMB, or about 92 per cent of all global trade settlements in RMB," she said.

     Ms Wong said around 7,000 overseas companies have established a base in Hong Kong. Of these, more than 220 regional headquarters and 900 regional/local offices have been set up by Japanese companies, making up the second largest group of overseas companies in Hong Kong after the United States.

     Citing the excellent sales performance of Kobe beef in Hong Kong, Ms Wong appealed to the Hyogo and Kobe companies to take advantage of the many exciting business opportunities in Hong Kong.

     The Principal Consultant of Invest Hong Kong in Tokyo, Mr Yukio Sasaki; the Director, Japan, of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Ms Shigemi Furuta; and the Regional Director of Japan, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Mr David Leung, also spoke at the seminar respectively on doing business and living in Hong Kong and opportunities for the travel industry.

     Additionally, the President of the Japan Pearl Exporters' Association, Mr Yoshihiro Shimizu, shared with the audience his insight and experience on doing business in Hong Kong.

     The seminar, which was attended by some 110 people, was one of the events being held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Ends/Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:16


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