SFST's speech at gala dinner in celebration of 25th anniversary of HKSAR establishment by Sydney ETO (English only)
Ambassador Xiao (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Commonwealth of Australia, Mr Xiao Qian), Minister Coure (Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Seniors of the New South Wales Government, Mr Mark Coure), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening! It is my great pleasure to join you all virtually tonight at the gala dinner in Sydney to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This gala dinner is a wonderful occasion for all of us to gather and share the joy of the anniversary, and look at the amazing journey Hong Kong has embarked on since returning to our motherland 25 years ago.
With the unprecedented concept of "one country, two systems" and the staunch support by the Central Government over the years, Hong Kong has developed into Asia's leading world-class city. We are one of the world's freest and most competitive economies, one of the world's top three global financial centres, one of the world's top three destinations for foreign direct investments, and the world's largest offshore Renminbi hub and the seventh largest stock market. Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 epidemic in the past two years, our business environment is resilient as ever with the strong foundations we have. The total merchandise trade value reached more than AUD1.83 trillion in 2021, surpassing the pre-COVID high in 2018 by more than 15 per cent. We have record-breaking numbers of over 9 000 overseas and Mainland companies and more than 3 300 start-ups setting up their business operations in Hong Kong, reflecting strong confidence in our city.
Focusing on our long-standing relationship with Australia, we have strong economic and trade ties as well as people-to-people links. The total merchandise trade between Hong Kong and Australia amounted to over AUD9.5 billion last year despite the epidemic, an increase of 8.2 per cent compared to 2020. I had the privilege to speak virtually at a business luncheon held in Sydney last month to share with business leaders and executives the latest developments of green and sustainable finance. I believe that there is ample room for collaboration between Hong Kong and Australia in many areas of common interests including green and sustainability, trade and investment and financial services etc. Boundless opportunities lie ahead, as numerous major initiatives continue to evolve around us. Most notably, we are glad to see the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, and Hong Kong looks forward to joining the Agreement to further pursue the common goal of economic advancement with RCEP members including Australia.
The exemplary achievements over the years, ladies and gentlemen, demonstrate that the unique advantages of "one country, two systems" have scripted a success story for Hong Kong. We will continue to leverage our unique strengths and maintain an international outlook while, at the same time, connecting ever more closely and deeply with our motherland. As we actively integrate into the national development strategies of the Central Government, Hong Kong is blessed with immense opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) development and the National 14th Five-Year Plan. With our free economy, a low and simple tax system, well-established infrastructural connectivity, and a market-oriented and international business environment, Hong Kong will definitely be your prime partner in tapping the vast business potential in the GBA, Mainland China and beyond in many more years to come.
On this note, thank you for having me today. I wish you all a lovely evening and I look forward to seeing you all in Sydney in person in the near future!
Ends/Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:30
Issued at HKT 18:30