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Speech by FS at HOFEX 2015 opening ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, this morning (May 6) at the opening ceremony of HOFEX 2015 - the 16th International Exhibition of Food & Drink, Hotel, Restaurant & Foodservice Equipment, Supplies & Services:

Peter (Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Mr Peter Lam), James (Executive Director of Hong Kong Hotels Association, Mr James Lu), Daniel (General Manager of Hong Kong Exhibition Services Ltd, Mr Daniel Cheung), Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     It is indeed my great pleasure to be here today, and for good reasons. First, this year's International Exhibition of Food & Drink, Hotel, Restaurant & Foodservice Equipment, Supplies & Services Fair is perhaps the largest food and hospitality event in Asia. I understand that some 2 400 exhibitors are on hand, and that the fair will attract some 40 000 buyers from around the world.

     It is really numbers like that that have earned Hong Kong our reputation as Asia's trade-fair capital. In fact, the hotel, the catering and tourism sectors as a whole play a pivotal part in Hong Kong's economy. Our catering services and accommodation sectors account for some 8 per cent of our total employment.

     Second point, what other food fair, think about that, is smart enough to set its opening ceremony in a Meat Hall like where we are now. Or clever enough to call it "Meat at HOFEX". That's "Meat" with an "e" "a" "t" at the end, as in "eat". And what other trade fair is big enough to carry prime cuts from all over the world, or prestigious enough to attract consuls general from all over the meat world.

     Now I know some of you may harbour reservations about meeting in a meat hall - and in the middle of the morning, no less. I respect that. But after all, Hong Kong, according to HOFEX, enjoys the highest per-capita meat consumption in the world now. Surprise! Hong Kong is also a major distribution centre, re-exporting 27 per cent of its imported meat and seafood throughout the Asian region.

     But more than meat, HOFEX is a world-class food and hospitality fair in a city bursting with world-class fairs and exhibitions year-round. Our long history as an entrepôt has helped make Hong Kong an international marketplace, a magnet for traders, for buyers, sellers and meat eaters.

     Hong Kong's success has been built on singular advantages here in Asia. They include the rule of law, a low tax regime, a level-playing field, transparent import and export controls, and robust protection of intellectual property rights. That is why the business world turns to Hong Kong. That is why we are all here today.

     Ladies and gentlemen, for the next four days, exhibitors will showcase the best and the latest products from all over the world. And traders from all over the world will line up to buy them. Every day, every hour, in every hall, every hallway and exhibition space here at HOFEX. It is the Hong Kong way. And that is also why we are one of the world's greatest trading economies.

     So my congratulations to HOFEX and to Daniel (Daniel Cheung) for once again putting together a magnificent show. I would like to wish you all the best of business and a memorable stay here in Hong Kong. And if you should have a chance to stray outside of the exhibition hall here, do shop a lot.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:22


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