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SFST's speech at Thai-Hong Kong Trade Association 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, at the Thai-Hong Kong Trade Association 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner today (October 21):
Jose (President of Thai-Hong Kong Trade Association, Mr Jose Lai), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     It is my great pleasure to join you tonight to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Thai-Hong Kong Trade Association (THKTA). This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). This gala dinner is a momentous occasion for all of us to come together and share the joy of the anniversary of both the THKTA and the HKSAR, and look at the amazing journey Hong Kong and the THKTA have embarked on over the past decades.
     Hong Kong has been recognised as the world's freest economy, leading global financial centre, the world's largest offshore Renminbi (RMB) hub, as well as the fifth most competitive economy around the globe. The exemplary achievements over the years demonstrate that the unique advantages of "one country, two systems", 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 multicultural talents, as well as a fine tradition of the rule of law and an independent judiciary, have scripted a success story for Hong Kong.
     Looking back at the past three years, Hong Kong has indeed undergone challenges of a rare kind. But we are still standing strong. The business environment of Hong Kong remains favourable and vibrant.
     Hong Kong has lifted the compulsory quarantine requirement and presentation of a negative nucleic acid testing report prior to boarding for inbound persons from overseas since September 26, 2022. The Government's goal is to minimise the inconvenience faced by inbound travellers due to quarantine requirements and allow room for Hong Kong to connect with the world as far as possible, while being able to contain the epidemic development. We believe the above measures will facilitate the much needed business travel so as to bring our economy onto a solid recovery path.
     I am glad to share with you that Hong Kong would host a series of world-class events in the coming weeks and month, including (i) the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2022 with the theme "Pushing Boundaries, Reaping Benefits" from October 31 to November 4 this year, and over 250 distinguished speakers, 400 sponsors and exhibitors, and more than 30 international delegations are expected to join; (ii) the Global Financial Leaders' Investment Summit with the theme "Navigating Beyond Uncertainty" on November 1 and 2, during which 30 chief executives of global banks and funds including Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered and UBS would be among some 200 representatives from over 100 major institutions would take part in the Summit - a collective endorsement of Hong Kong's appeal as a global financial centre; and (iii) Hong Kong Rugby Sevens from November 4 to 6. The return of the Hong Kong Sevens means business is also returning. And that's just the beginning. We are going to have many more events to come, ranging from industry specific to cultural and sports.
     We would take this opportunity to demonstrate to the world that 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 continue to adhere to the best global practices and standards, giving confidence to everyone looking to do business in Hong Kong, and showcasing that Hong Kong continues to be an excellent platform in tapping the tremendous business potential in the GBA, Mainland China and beyond.
     As you all should know, our Chief Executive announced his first Policy Address this Wednesday. One of the key priorities is to reinforce our position as an international financial centre. In this regard, we will introduce various measures to further enhance our position as a global fundraising platform, enhance our strengths as the largest offshore RMB centre, promote our mutual market access in the Mainland, in particular the GBA, develop our green and sustainable finance, strengthen our risk and wealth management, as well as continue enhancing our competitiveness in fintech.
     Hong Kong and Thailand have enjoyed excellent relations over many decades, with a very close people-to-people bond on business and personal levels. We have always treasured Thailand as a valuable trading partner on its own and as an ASEAN member state. In fact, our trade performance with Thailand is very impressive. In 2021, Thailand was our 10th largest trading partner in merchandise trade and ranked fourth in ASEAN. The total value of merchandise trade reached US$20.6 billion (682 billion Baht) (an increase of 18.4 per cent from 2020). Reciprocally, Hong Kong was Thailand's eighth largest merchandise trading partner and fourth largest export market in 2020. In services trade, Thailand was our 16th largest trading partner and our total services trade amounted to US$1.1 billion (36.6 billion Baht) in 2020.
     Hong Kong businesses have a long history of investing in Thailand in a wide range of sectors, such as, logistics, insurance, property, hotels, manufacturing, cookware, retail, and restaurants.
     I would like to thank the THKTA for all your efforts in connecting Hong Kong and Thai business community over the past 30 years, and for your tremendous support to the work of our Economic and Trade Office. We look forward to a long-lasting and productive relationship with the THKTA. I am confident that with our concerted efforts, we shall continue to enhance the bilateral relationship between Hong Kong and Thailand.
     Thank you and have an enjoyable evening.
Ends/Friday, October 21, 2022
Issued at HKT 21:09
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