CS continues visit to Europe (with photos)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, began her visit to Rome, Italy, today (May 6, Rome time) following her visit in Dublin, Ireland. She called on senior officials and will have dinner with members of the Italian Parliament.

     On her arrival in Rome, Mrs Lam attended a lunch hosted by China's Ambassador to Italy, Mr Li Ruiyu. She thanked the Ambassador and the embassy staff for their assistance in promoting the bilateral relationship between Hong Kong and Italy and helping Hong Kong citizens in need, especially as Italy is a popular holiday destination for Hong Kong people.

     Mrs Lam then met with Italy's Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Mr Carlo Calenda. Both sides agreed to explore further collaboration in a wide range of areas including culture and creative industries, wine business as well as innovation and technology. Mrs Lam said, "Italian companies have already been using Hong Kong as a platform for fundraising and for venturing into the vast Mainland Chinese market. Hong Kong is an international financial centre and the largest offshore Renminbi centre, with more than 60 million tourists visiting our city last year. It is certainly a market that Italian companies cannot afford to miss. I strongly encourage more Italian companies to establish a presence in Hong Kong, whether for sales of goods and services or to manage their operations in the Asia-Pacific region, and to benefit from the advantages that Hong Kong offers."

     Mrs Lam then met with the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Benedetto Della Vedova, to provide an update on the latest political and economic developments in Hong Kong.  At the meeting, Mrs Lam said that both the Central Authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government were committed to achieving universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017, and that a package of proposals had been put before the HKSAR Legislative Council.  She said she looked forward to closer ties between Hong Kong and Italy, not only in trade and investment but also in cultural exchanges. She added that Hong Kong was interested in establishing a reciprocal working holiday scheme with Italy.  Such arrangements would allow Hong Kong's young people to experience foreign cultures by living and working temporarily overseas, as well as enhancing bilateral co-operation and promoting the development of tourism and further ties between Hong Kong and Italy, she said.

     Mrs Lam will have dinner with members of the Italian Parliament in the evening to exchange views on matters of mutual interest. She will depart for Venice tomorrow morning (May 7).

Ends/Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Issued at HKT 23:14