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Speech by DCS at Opening Ceremony of Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show 2023 (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Cheuk Wing-hing, at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show 2023 today (March 1):

Peter (Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Dr Peter Lam), Margaret (Executive Director of the HKTDC, Ms Margaret Fong), Lawrence (Chairman of the Fairs Organising Committee of the HKTDC, Mr Lawrence Ma), Winston (Chairman of the Jewellery Advisory Committee of the HKTDC, Mr Winston Chow), Consuls-General, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good morning.
     It is my great pleasure to join you here at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show 2023.
     This is more so because today is the first day that Hong Kong has lifted our almost three-year masking requirement, which is a great, great move for our local people and overseas visitors alike. Let's give a round of applause to Hong Kong and all of us here in this hall.
     Back to this event. It is extremely good to see the return of physical international trade shows after the stabilisation of the pandemic and the removal of anti-epidemic measures. Today, we have some 2,500 exhibitors from 36 countries and regions, bringing to the exhibition a vast variety of products and related services, from antique and vintage jewellery to jewellery tools and equipment. Exhibitors will be able to make use of both the physical and virtual platforms to explore business opportunities and connect with buyers worldwide, rediscovering the irreplaceable pleasure and intimacy of connecting with people face to face.
     Hong Kong has long been a preferred location for staging international trade fairs and exhibitions. Hosting these events are in our DNA. The COVID-19 pandemic has set us back in this stock-in-trade of Hong Kong, and in particular the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. But with our exorcising the ghost of COVID and returning to normalcy, there is no stopping us from clinching the title in this business. In his 2023-24 Budget delivered last week, the Hong Kong Financial Secretary announced that the Government will earmark $100 million for attracting mega events to Hong Kong. In the coming few months alone, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council will hold more than 10 major conferences and exhibitions to attract over half a million participants from around the world. The Government will also support the Hong Kong Tourism Board with a funding of $200 million for staging more international meetings, incentive travel, and conventions and exhibitions encompassing the areas of finance, innovation and technology, medicine, etc. All these will create business opportunities to exhibitors and visitors alike, and consolidate Hong Kong's position as a premier events capital.
     We also support exhibitors under our Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme. It is under this Scheme that all exhibitors of this very fair enjoy a discounted price for joining. You may also wish to know that a few months down the road in July, a new $1.4-billion Incentive Scheme for Recurrent Exhibitions will be launched to encourage and support recurrent events in the coming three years.
     Hong Kong is not only the world's premier trading hub for jewellery; we are one of the most important international business centres. With our unique advantages under the time-tested "one country, two systems" national policy, our free and open market, low and simple tax regime, common law regime, world class financial services and a deep pool of multicultural professionals, we are an ideal regional headquarters location to capture the huge market and vast opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area which has a total population of over 86 million, a total GDP of US$1,668 billion in 2020 - which, to put things in perspective, is slightly more than the GDP of the Republic of Korea in the same year - and, very importantly, the Greater Bay Area is within an hour's travel by land and sea transport from Hong Kong. 
     To conclude, I thank the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the four co-organisers for organising this prestigious show and promoting Hong Kong's jewellery industry. I am certain that both shows will be a runaway success. Dear friends from overseas, please enjoy the shows and your stay in Hong Kong. Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Issued at HKT 15:30
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