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Speech by SCED at 12th Business of IP Asia Forum (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau, at the Policy Dialogue Session of the 12th Business of Intellectual Property (IP) Asia Forum today (December 1):
The Honourable Mr Daren Tang (Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization), Mr Antony Taubman (Director, IP Division, World Trade Organization), Mr Rowel Barba (Chairman, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Working Group on IP Cooperation), Dr Kyo-sook Choi (Chair, IP Rights Experts Group, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good morning. It is my great pleasure to join you all at this Policy Dialogue Session of the 12th Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum. I am particularly thrilled to have so many heavyweight speakers from the World Intellectual Property Organization, World Trade Organization, ASEAN, APEC and the European Patent Office participating in this Session. May I give my special thanks to Mr Tang, Mr Taubman, Mr Barba and Dr Choi for their support in attending the Forum in person. Thank you very much.
     Before we invite our distinguished guest speakers to share with us their expert insights on the latest development in global IP policies, please allow me to share with you our vision to develop Hong Kong into a regional IP trading centre and the tremendous opportunities that our city could offer.
Rise of Asia in the IP market
     It is my firm belief that IP is the backbone of a competitive economy. Thanks to IP, we are able to enjoy innovative products and services, venture into new creative frontiers, and harness economic benefits that may have otherwise been untapped. But where can we find the next opportunities?
     Asia is rising as a converging point for IP activities. Amongst the IP5 Offices (see Note), the five largest intellectual property offices in the world, three are in Asia. In terms of the number of IP filings, IP offices in Asia accounted for more than two-third of the world IP filing activities and the China National Intellectual Property Administration topped the chart of filings for patents, trade marks and industrial designs.
     China's Belt and Road Initiative will further fuel the IP trade in the region, provide countless business opportunities in the Asian, European and African continents covered by the route, and generate overwhelming demand for high-level support services for the world to employ.
     Still further are the golden opportunities offered by the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), which has a combined population of 86 million and GDP exceeding US$1.9 trillion. According to the Global Innovation Index 2022 published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou cluster continued to be ranked as the world's second science and technology cluster. We have seen an uninterrupted growth in the number of invention patents in the GBA over the years, reaching some 366 000 in 2020, and this upward trend will surely continue.
Hong Kong's unique role
     As the centre of IP gravity shifts eastward, China, together with other fast-growing economies in the region, will be a major engine of IP development. Hong Kong remains the only place in the world where the global advantage and the China advantage come together in a single city. This unique convergence makes Hong Kong the irreplaceable connection between the Mainland and the rest of the world. Hong Kong plays a significant role in the Belt and Road Initiative and GBA development I just mentioned. In addition, our country's National 14th Five-Year Plan promulgated in March 2021 states for the first time the Central Government's support to develop Hong Kong into a regional IP trading centre. With Hong Kong's strong IP protection regime, sound legal and judicial systems, and sophisticated professional services sectors, we strongly believe that Hong Kong is in a unique position to become a regional centre for IP trading to tap the flourishing IP market and tremendous business opportunities in Mainland China and beyond.
     In fact, the Chief Executive has announced in his Policy Address this year a series of initiatives to further strengthen our role as a regional IP trading centre, one of which is a pilot scheme we will roll out with the China National Intellectual Property Administration on January 1, 2023, to enable Hong Kong applicants to enjoy prioritised examination of qualified patent applications in the Mainland as announced by Commissioner Shen (Commissioner of China National Intellectual Property Administration, Dr Shen Changyu) in his opening remarks just now. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the unfailing support of the China National Intellectual Property Administration for Hong Kong.
     Ladies and gentlemen, IP has an eminent value in this global economy. I look forward to hearing the sharing of our distinguished guests on how policymakers around the world are working to help our start-ups, businesses, intermediaries, and society as a whole to reap the full benefits of the IP age. 
     Thank you.
Note: The IP5 Offices comprise the China National Intellectual Property Administration, the European Patent Office, the Japan Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Ends/Thursday, December 1, 2022
Issued at HKT 11:51
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