CE continues Switzerland visit (with photos/videos)

     The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, continued her visit to Switzerland in Bern and Basel today (January 23, Bern time).

     Accompanied by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr James Lau, and the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Mr Norman Chan, Mrs Lam departed Zurich for Bern this morning to meet with the Vice-President of the Swiss Federal Council and Finance Minister, Mr Ueli Maurer, and attended a working lunch hosted by him. Mrs Lam said she was glad to see the good progress achieved in financial collaboration between Hong Kong and Switzerland, and exchanged views with Mr Maurer on various financial issues including the future development of the two financial centres, the opening up of the financial markets in Mainland China, financial technologies (Fintech) and international tax co-operation.

     Mrs Lam and Mr Maurer witnessed the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding on strengthening collaboration in financial markets, Fintech and promotion of private wealth management between the HKMA and the Swiss authorities, as well as between the trade representatives of both places.

     Mrs Lam and Mr Lau then headed to Basel and met with the Chief Executive Officer of the Roche Group, Dr Severin Schwan. Mrs Lam said that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has been in close communication with the pharmaceutical industry to achieve the common objective of protecting public health. Noting that the Government is concerned about suitable treatment for patients, especially those who suffer from uncommon diseases, she encouraged world-renowned pharmaceutical companies like Roche to develop and supply new drugs to help these patients. With regard to clinical research, she added that the Government is working towards enhancing the efficiency for approval of clinical trial certificates by the Department of Health, and she encouraged Roche to conduct more clinical trials in Hong Kong.

     Mrs Lam and Mr Lau also visited Technologiepark Basel to learn about its progress in nurturing innovation and technology (I&T) start-ups. Noting that the current-term Government is keen to develop I&T, she said the Hong Kong Science Park has an important role to play in providing a quality environment and new business and employment opportunities for the I&T sector. With the joint development by the HKSAR Government and the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park at the Lok Ma Chau Loop as a key base for scientific research, relevant higher education, cultural and creative industries and other complementary facilities, she said she believed that there would be plenty of room for collaboration between Technologiepark Basel, the Hong Kong Science Park and the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park.

     In the evening, Mrs Lam met the President of the Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Ms Elisabeth Ackermann, at the City Hall. Mrs Lam said she was pleased to see that Art Basel Hong Kong has been very successful in its past five annual fairs, and added that it has firmly established itself as a premier annual event that promotes the development of Hong Kong's arts and culture. Remarking that the HKSAR Government has all along been working to create an enabling environment for the art market in Hong Kong to flourish, she said Hong Kong’s strategic location at the heart of Asia and as a gateway to Mainland China, the simple and low tax system and the world-class logistics networks have encouraged art businesses to choose Hong Kong to access the buoyant Asian market.

     Mrs Lam headed for Lucerne this evening and will go to Davos tomorrow morning (January 24).

Ends/Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Issued at HKT 1:54