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Hong Kong welcomes Year of the Monkey in Australia and New Zealand (with photos)

     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO) hosted a Chinese New Year reception in Sydney yesterday (February 16) to start its celebration of the Year of the Monkey in Australia and New Zealand.

     The reception was attended by more than 300 guests comprising business, community and political leaders.

     The monkey is a symbol of energy and creativity. Speaking at the reception, the Director of the HKETO, Mr Arthur Au, said Hong Kong and Australia enjoy an energetic economic relationship.

     "Hong Kong is Australia's sixth largest foreign investor and seventh largest trading partner in services, and Australia is Hong Kong's eighth largest investor. Last year, bilateral merchandise trade between Hong Kong and Australia increased by over 10 per cent," he added.

     He expressed the hope that negotiations on a comprehensive avoidance of double-taxation agreement and a free trade agreement between Hong Kong and Australia would commence early so that Australian and Hong Kong companies would be able to trade and invest more in both places.

     Mr Au said that with the combined advantages under the "one country, two systems" arrangement, Hong Kong continues to be a highly effective platform for raising capital, for Chinese companies to "go global", and for overseas companies to tap the business opportunities in Mainland China.

     Hong Kong ranked first globally in initial public offerings last year. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's World Investment Report 2015, Hong Kong ranked second in the world for both foreign direct investment inflow and outflow in 2014.

     Taking the opportunity of the reception, Mr Au highlighted Hong Kong's role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

     "As an international financial centre and being part of China, Hong Kong is a natural hub for raising capital to fund the infrastructure plans under the Initiative," he said.

     "Hong Kong will also leverage its extensive network of business connections and internationally competitive service sectors to serve as a major platform to promote trade and logistics under the Initiative."

     Looking forward, Mr Au said that while 2016 is going to be a challenging year for the global economy, Hong Kong, with its prudent fiscal management, robust financial regime and the Linked Exchange Rate System between the Hong Kong dollar and the US dollar, would be able to cope with such challenges.

     As in Australia, innovation has topped the Hong Kong Government's agenda. More than A$1.5 billion would be earmarked to drive innovation and technology in Hong Kong, including setting up an Innovation and Technology Venture Fund for co-investing in local innovation and technology start-ups with private venture capital funds.

     "All these will present great opportunities to companies and talent in Australia," he noted.

     To celebrate the Year of the Monkey, the HKETO is jointly organising Chinese New Year receptions in major cities of Australia and New Zealand with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Invest Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-Australia Business Association and the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association in February and March.

Ends/Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:39


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