HKETO briefs Canadian business sector on Hong Kong's potential (with photos)

     The Canadian business community is always welcome and encouraged to capitalise on the advantages of Hong Kong for overseas business ventures, the Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto), Miss Gloria Lo, said at a breakfast seminar in Saskatoon, Canada, today (September 23, Saskatoon time).

     Speaking at the event, jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce in the province of Saskatchewan, Miss Lo remarked that Hong Kong and Canada enjoy sound bilateral trade relations.

     Hong Kong is currently the sixth largest export market of Canada, and is most notably a popular destination for Canadian beef, seafood and agricultural products.

     "There is a strong presence of Canadian companies in Hong Kong covering different sectors and industries," Miss Lo said.

     "Hong Kong is fully committed to maintaining a free and open market and the continuous introduction of new measures to support business and trade," she added.

     "On infrastructure development, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link upon their completion will substantially reduce the travelling and turnaround time between Hong Kong and the major cities in the Pearl River Delta region," Miss Lo said.

     "The newly announced Railway Development Strategy 2014, which recommends the implementation of seven new railway projects on or before 2026, will also provide a further framework for planning the further expansion of Hong Kong's railway network," she added.

     "To consolidate our position as an aviation hub in Asia, Hong Kong is also planning to develop a third runway in the Hong Kong International Airport to enhance the service capacity."

     At the same time, the new cruise terminal in Kai Tak will have its second berth commissioned by the end of this year and the ongoing West Kowloon Cultural District project will build a cluster of world-class arts exhibition and performance venues.

     Miss Lo encouraged Canadian companies to set up businesses in Hong Kong by making use of Hong Kong's unique advantage of a simple and low tax regime. "In particular, the 'Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreement' between Canada and Hong Kong effected last year helps reduce tax payments for business and investment between the two places in applicable cases," she said.

     "We have also modernised our Companies Ordinance in March to facilitate business by streamlining procedures and simplifying financial reporting. At the same time, we are increasing the land supply for business with a major plan to energise Kowloon East, covering the Kai Tak Development area, Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong," she added.

     Miss Lo also highlighted the fact that Hong Kong is among the top international financial centres in the world, providing a wide range of services for business, and an ideal place for fundraising, in particular through initial public offerings.

     "Hong Kong has continued to develop as a premier Renminbi (RMB) offshore business centre, providing a great platform for trade settlement, investment and financing in RMB," she said.

     Pinpointing Hong Kong's strong commitment to support innovation, Miss Lo told the seminar that a new funding scheme would be introduced to support private companies of all sizes to conduct research and development, covering new areas in design, system development, compliance testing and clinical trials.

     "Phase three development of the Hong Kong Science Park will provide spaces for 150 additional technology companies. Apart from providing a nurturing environment for innovation and technology, Hong Kong is a great platform for intellectual property (IP) trading for new technologies with our strong legal protection for contractual and IP rights," Miss Lo remarked.

     The seminar was also told that an online platform, namely the Asia IP Exchange, was introduced last year in Hong Kong to provide for one-stop international IP trading.  

     "With its sound legal system based on common law, solid experience in international trade and the presence of a large pool of legal professionals and dispute resolution practitioners, Hong Kong had also developed as an international arbitration centre, offering high-end legal dispute resolution services in various areas," Miss Lo said.

     While consolidating its status as an international financial, trading and shipping centre, Hong Kong is taking active measures to develop as a smarter city as well as a greener and more livable place.

     "We will double the number of free Wi-Fi hotspots across the city and promote wider use of the Internet of things as well as sensors and big data analytics for city management. We see huge business potential for the ICT (information and communications technology) sector with this development. To build a greener city, we will continue with various measures to enhance building energy efficiency, improve air quality and modernise municipal waste management. These will certainly translate into new business opportunities for the environmental industry," she pointed out.

     In regard to trading with the Mainland of China, Miss Lo remarked that Hong Kong is an important gateway to the Mainland for business and investment. "We will continue to help Hong Kong-based companies, including local and foreign-owned entities, to access the Mainland market by taking advantage of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, which offers over 400 liberalisation measures to Hong Kong service suppliers in different sectors and zero tariffs for importing merchandise goods into the Mainland subject to relevant rules of origin," she said.

     Miss Lo will continue to visit Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton this week, during which she will attend business workshops organised by various business associations.

Ends/Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Issued at HKT 02:02