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STH's speech at opening of Hong Kong Pavilion at Marintec China 2013 (with photo)

     Following is a speech delivered by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Pavilion at Marintec China 2013 today (December 3) in Shanghai:

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning to you all and a warm welcome to the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Pavilion.

     This is the fourth time Hong Kong has participated in this important biennial event since 2007. The Hong Kong Pavilion is set up by the Hong Kong Maritime Industry Council, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Marine Department. I thank our exhibitors for their support.

     Hong Kong is a global city. With our strategic location at the estuary of the Pearl River, the doorstep of southern China, and right at the heart of Asia, we have all along played an important trading role between China and the world.

     Currently, we have about 380 liner services per week connecting to around 550 destinations worldwide. Some 7 000 flights are operated by over 100 airlines to about 180 destinations every week. Our dual role as China's gateway and the regional hub port are underpinned by major institutional strengths. Hong Kong is a free port, and levies no tariffs on imports, including wines. We have a simple tax system with a low taxation rate. We also provide a friendly business environment for all enterprises. Our rule of law is well entrenched. Capital and information flow freely. Hong Kong has consistently been ranked the freest of all economies. The ratio of our trade value to GDP is as high as 360 per cent - the highest among the world's major economies.

     The Hong Kong Government is embarking on major transport infrastructure projects to enhance our global and Mainland connectivity, including planning a third runway for the Hong Kong International Airport and building the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau mega bridge.

     Hong Kong has a long-established history in international maritime. Hong Kong shipowners own and manage 2 111 ships of 147.2 million tonnes deadweight, representing about 10 per cent of the world's merchant fleet. The Hong Kong Shipping Register is currently ranked top four in the world. As at end of October, 2 315 ships amounting to 85.5 million gross tonnage were registered with the Hong Kong Shipping Register. Our registered ships have enjoyed an excellent reputation in terms of quality and are considered "Low Risk Ships" under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding, given their very low detention rate of 0.85 per cent in 2012 against the average detention rate of 4.59 per cent in the world.

     Hong Kong is also a leading maritime service base. In support of the shipowning business, there exists at present a maritime cluster of over 700 shipping-related companies, providing a variety of quality maritime services, including ship agency and management, ship finance, maritime law and arbitration services, ship broking, marine insurance, and other port-related operations.

     We aim to enhance our maritime services cluster, and to expand the contribution of our international maritime centre to world trade and logistics. In this direction we have just completed a consultancy study that supports the formulation of a new strategy and roadmap.

     To expand and enhance the pool of our maritime expertise, we have earmarked funding to set up a HK$100-million Maritime and Aviation Training Fund. Tripartite efforts of the Government, the industry and the education institutions will be emphasised.

     Our Hong Kong Pavilion at Marintec China 2013 is to introduce to you Hong Kong's strong maritime cluster, showcasing advanced navigation and communications equipment, and various support services such as weather routing, ship repair, marine asset tracking and fleet management. It is an excellent platform for visitors to better understand the services our exhibitors provide and the opportunities Hong Kong can offer.

     To conclude, I must thank all the exhibitors, organisers and industry representatives again for all the hard work in setting up the Hong Kong Pavilion. I wish Marintec China 2013 a great success, and all of you a very fruitful experience and a lot of business opportunities in the next three days. Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Issued at HKT 12:27


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