Speech by CS at Canada 150 Celebration@Ocean Park (English only) (with photos)
Jodi (Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner of the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, Ms Jodi Robinson), Todd (Chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Mr Todd Handcock), Belinda (Chief Distribution and Marketing Officer of Sun Life Hong Kong, Ma Belinda Au),
ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to join you all this evening at this closure event to celebrate Canada 150.
2017 is a year of special significance to both Canada and Hong Kong. This year, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday and also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (CanCham). For Hong Kong, we are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Locally, we are also celebrating the 40th birthday of the Ocean Park, our all-time favourite theme park that brings us years of fun and unforgettable memories since it opened its doors in 1977.
Since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 20 years ago, Hong Kong has demonstrated to the world that the unique and unprecedented "one country, two systems" has been working well. The rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong continue to be cherished, the rule of law and judicial independence firmly upheld and the open market economy well preserved. We have been making great strides in our economic development. All these nurture a favourable environment and a level playing field for foreign companies, including Canadian companies, to expand or establish business in Hong Kong.
Canada and Hong Kong have enjoyed close trade and economic ties. Canada was Hong Kong's 3rd largest trading partner in terms of trade in goods in Americas in 2016. Reciprocally, we are one of Canada's important export markets in Asia, in particular for frozen beef, fish and seafood. We also have a vibrant Canadian business community in Hong Kong. We are home to more than a hundred Canadian companies who have set up their regional headquarters, regional offices or local offices here and Sin Life is one of them. Their businesses span various industries, from banking, financial services to information technology, transportation and professional services.
Hong Kong continues to be an ideal gateway for foreign companies, including, of course, Canadian companies, to tap the fast-growing and dynamic Greater China market. Coupled with our Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Mainland China, which is nationality-neutral, as well as our new free trade agreement with the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) just signed this November, Hong Kong's active participation in the major initiatives being actively pursued by our Motherland including the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area further reinforces our important status as the springboard to the flourishing markets on Mainland China and ASEAN countries. I encourage Canadian enterprises to partner with companies in Hong Kong to explore new business opportunities offered under these initiatives.
Business aside, Hong Kong and Canada, though far apart geographically, are closely-connected socially and culturally. On people-to-people ties, apart from the substantial population of Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong and Hong Kong immigrants in Canada. No less important, Canada is also a popular destination for our young people – be it studying or participating in the Working Holiday Scheme. I am most thrilled to learn that Hong Kong Airlines has started the new non-stop daily service between Hong Kong and Vancouver in June this year. Cathay Pacific also stepped up the frequency of its flights connecting Hong Kong and Canada in the past few months. Ties between us will only bring our two places even closer.
Christmas is soon coming. It is the season when our hearts come even closer together. We have just seen the spectacular tree light ceremony which heralds the festivities in the weeks ahead. May I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a fruitful year ahead.
Once again, my warmest congratulations to Canada and its great people on its 150th birthday. Happy anniversary also to CanCham and Ocean Park.
Wish you all have a very enjoyable evening. Thank you.
Ends/Saturday, December 9, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:34
Issued at HKT 20:34