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Hong Kong's role in trade relations between China and Canada promoted (with photos)

     A former top official of the Government of Canada, Mr Stockwell Day, yesterday (November 19, Ottawa time) highlighted the unique role that Hong Kong can play in the continuous development of trade relations between Canada and China while speaking at a breakfast business networking event at Parliament Hill, Ottawa.

     Addressing some 150 Canadian politicians and business leaders at the event, Mr Day said that the relations between Canada and China have become stronger and stronger in recent years with substantial growth in business and trade between the two countries. Hong Kong, with its economic freedom, will continue to play a key role in the continuous opening up of the Chinese market.

     "The transformation of Hong Kong from a fishing village to an international financial centre was amazing. The unique position of Hong Kong in Asia is comparable to London in Europe," Mr Day said.

     Mr Day also pointed out that the overall economic development of Asia has been very impressive, with a fast growing middle class. "I am not concerned about the rising power of Asia, but concerned that Canadians may be at risk of missing the boat as China's significant growth surges ahead," Mr Day said.

     Mr Day stressed the importance for Canadians to develop a more vibrant relationship with the Asia-Pacific region. "Asia - in particular China - is on the move. The opportunities are there, the opportunities are great," Mr Day added.

     Mr Day is currently the Senior Strategic Advisor at McMillan LLP's Vancouver office. He previously held a number of top positions in the federal government, including Minister of International Trade, Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway and President of the Treasury Board.  

     The breakfast meeting was organised by the Executive Committee of the Canada-Hong Kong Parliamentary Friendship Group and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Toronto, and supported by the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association (Ottawa Section).

     Speaking at the meeting, the Director of the HKETO in Toronto, Miss Gloria Lo, remarked that Hong Kong is an excellent first point of entry to the huge Asian markets for Canadians. "Over the years, Hong Kong has maintained stable and good bilateral trade relations with Canada," Miss Lo said. "The comprehensive double taxation avoidance agreement signed between Hong Kong and Canada last year has been ratified and brought into effect. This is a major achievement to facilitate business and trade between the two places."

     Miss Lo said that Hong Kong, with various advantages under "One Country, Two Systems", is recognised as the freest economy in the world by the Fraser Institute in Canada, the second easiest place to do business by the World Bank, the third best global financial centre in the Global Financial Centre Index, and among the most competitive places in the world according to the World Economic Forum and the International Institute for Management Development. At the same time, Hong Kong enjoys lots of benefits under "One Country".

     "With the full support of the Central Government of China, Hong Kong has developed as the premier Renminbi offshore business centre," Miss Lo said. "We enjoy easier access to the Mainland markets for various service sectors and industries with our bilateral free trade agreement, the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement."

     Miss Lo further said that Hong Kong will also benefit from more efficient transport connections and hence shorter turnaround time with the completion of major cross-border infrastructure projects, including the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link in 2015 and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in 2016. "We see more and more business potential before us with these developments," Miss Lo added.

Ends/Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:40


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