SFST's speech at gala dinner in Vietnam to celebrate 25th anniversary of establishment of HKSAR (English only) (with photo)
Mr Wei (Chinese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Wei Huaxiang), Mr Chiu (Chairman of Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam, Mr Michael Chiu), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening! It is my great pleasure to join you all virtually tonight at the gala dinner in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, co-organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore and the Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This gala dinner is a momentous occasion for all of us to come together and share the joy of the anniversary, and look at the amazing journey Hong Kong has embarked on over the past quarter century.
Hong Kong has made impressive achievements on multiple fronts. With the "one country, two systems" principle, underpinned by an open and free market, a robust institutional framework, free movement of capital, a simple and low tax regime, a deep pool of multi-cultural talents, as well as a fine tradition of the rule of law and an independent judiciary, it has been recognised as the world's freest economy, the world's No.3 global financial centre and the fifth most competitive economy around the globe. Hong Kong is also the world's largest offshore renminbi hub and the world's No.1 in terms of air cargo throughput.
Hong Kong has also encountered various challenges in the past 25 years, including the global financial crisis in 2008, social unrest in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two years. Thanks to the full support of the Central Government, as well as the diligence and determination of Hong Kong people, we succeeded in overcoming each and every single challenge, and climbing to new heights. Our business environment is resilient as ever with the strong foundations we have. Hong Kong's total merchandise trade in 2021 reached more than VND30,300 trillion (HK$10.3 trillion), exceeding the pre-COVID high in 2018 by more than 15 per cent. We have a record-breaking number of over 9 000 overseas and Mainland companies.
The exemplary achievements over the years 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 a global outlook, while at the same time connecting ever more closely and deeply with our motherland. Hong Kong is blessed with immense opportunities, secured by the National 14th Five-Year Plan and development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). Our financial and professional services adhere to the best global practices and standards, giving confidence to everyone looking to do business in Hong Kong. You will definitely find Hong Kong an excellent platform in tapping the tremendous business potential in the GBA, Mainland China and beyond.
Hong Kong and Vietnam have enjoyed good and friendly relations over many years. Bilateral trade between the two economies has grown steadily at an average annual growth rate of 11.8 per cent from 2017 to 2021. Vietnam has become our 7th largest trading partner. Hong Kong's total merchandise trade with Vietnam last year amounted to VND651 trillion (HK$220 billion), putting Vietnam as the second largest trading partner of Hong Kong among ASEAN countries. Hong Kong businesses have a strong presence in Vietnam and are among the leading investors in the country.
On this note, thank you for attending this gala dinner. I learnt that you will have great Chinese dishes and fantastic performances. Have an enjoyable evening. Hong Kong has taken the views of the international business community into consideration in balancing the pandemic risk and economic momentum. From August 12 onwards, we have shortened the COVID quarantine period of seven days in quarantine hotels to just three days. I look forward to seeing you all in Vietnam or Hong Kong in person in the near future!
Ends/Saturday, August 27, 2022
Issued at HKT 20:54
Issued at HKT 20:54