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Business opportunities in world's freest economy (with photo)

     A joint Hong Kong promotion has been launched in western Canada to explain to Canadian companies the excellent business environment in Asia's world city which has just been named by Vancouver's Fraser Institute as the freest economy in the world.

     The promotion is in a form of business seminars jointly organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), and the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association (HKCBA) in Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.

     Speaking today (September 19, Vancouver time) at a seminar in Vancouver during the second leg of the west coast tour, Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto, Ms Gloria Lo, said that Hong Kong is an excellent place for businesses because it has a sound legal system, simple and low tax rates, superb infrastructure for efficient flow of people, goods and information, and a pool of high quality professionals and a hardworking workforce to support various businesses.  

     "We have both the hardware and software for you to do business in the most efficient way," said Ms Lo.  "We are strategically located at the heart of Asia and as an international financial centre and trading centre.  We have strong business connections all over the world. We are one of the most competitive places for business.  These all explain that there are close to 7,000 overseas companies operating in Hong Kong."

     She highlighted that Canada's think-tank Fraser Institute has once again affirmed Hong Kong's steadfast achievement as the freest economy in the world in its 2012 Annual Report on Economic Freedom, released on September 18. Hong Kong stays the world's freest economy, followed by Singapore (2nd), New Zealand (3rd), Switzerland (4th), and Australia and Canada (both 5th).  The Report compares and ranks in total 144 economies.

     "Apart from attaining top overall ranking, Hong Kong ranks 1st in 'regulation', 2nd in 'size of government' and 'freedom to trade internationally' among the five major areas of assessment," she said.

     The inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Hong Kong has increased by 17 per cent in 2011, putting it on the 4th of the world in terms of the total amount of FDI attracted in the year.  The latest trend is that more multinational companies, including General Electric, Nissan's Infiniti, are moving their global headquarters to Hong Kong.

     "We note the growing interests of Canadians in diversifying their businesses in the overseas beyond North America.  For those who are interested in Mainland China, Hong Kong is the right place for them since we are the premier gateway for entering the Mainland markets and for Mainland enterprises to invest in the overseas," said Ms Lo.

     "Our unique advantages lie in our close proximity to the Mainland, our rich experience and connections in Mainland markets, the preferential treatment in entering the Mainland markets under the bilateral free trade agreement CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement), and our status as the key Renminbi offshore business centre," she said.

     The British Columbia Government has just announced the setting up of a new trade and investment office in Hong Kong.  "This shows the Canadian interest in Hong Kong and the recognition of Hong Kong's uniqueness and advantages. The establishment of a new office also reflects the important business links and the potential for more business and trade between Hong Kong and Canada," Ms Lo said.

     In order to facilitate Canadian business people in tapping the growing business opportunities, HKTDC is organising the Hong Kong Forum in Hong Kong on December 4 and 5.

     "The upcoming Hong Kong Forum would help Canadian companies understand the business environment of Hong Kong," said Director (Canada) of HKTDC, Andrew Yui. "It would also provide a great platform for business networking, getting intelligence on market trends and development, and finding potential business partners.  Those interested are very much encouraged to join the Canadian mission to Hong Kong."

Ends/Thursday, September 20, 2012
Issued at HKT 05:51


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