Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) (HKETO), Ms Emily Mo, on January 18 joined the "Hong Kong Deep Dive: Quantifying the Economic Impact of China and Hong Kong in Canada" webinar to update the Canadian business community on Hong Kong’s latest business developments, which make the city an ideal destination for Canadian companies to tap into the Mainland China and Asian markets.
The webinar was organised by the Canada China Business Council (CCBC) and Hong Kong-Canada Business Association (HKCBA) to release the “Hong Kong-Canada Economic Ties” report on a CCBC-commissioned research by the China Institute at the University of Alberta. It examined the history and current status of trade and investment between Canada and Hong Kong, as well as an analysis of issues and trends that may influence Hong Kong’s future role and relationship with Canada.
The report pointed out that Canada’s relationship with Hong Kong is distinct, and that economic and business opportunities between the two places remain abundant and profitable. It concluded that Hong Kong is an important nexus of international trade due to its free port status and its special relationship with mainland China and access to Asia, and the city has remained one of Canada’s top ten trading markets. In terms of investment, Hong Kong was the world’s third largest foreign direct investment destination in 2020. In the same year, Canadian direct investment flows to Hong Kong more than tripled to 4.6 billion Canadian dollars, making the city the second-largest destination worldwide for Canadian direct investment abroad, behind only the US. With the relatively high number of Hong Kong descent living in Canada and vice versa, the report noted that these connections forged not only in economic exchanges but in the flow of people and culture are crucial to building and preserving vibrant Canada-Hong Kong relations.
Despite political uncertainty and recent headwinds, the report noted that Hong Kong’s role as a gateway connecting the mainland China to international markets, as an international financial, transportation, trade, and innovation hub has proved resilient to economic, political and social shocks. It suggested that Canada and Hong Kong’s future collaboration may lie increasingly in financial services, transportation, education, food and beverages, and arts and culture. There are also great opportunities for technology and research related cooperation.
In her welcome remarks at the event, Ms Emily Mo reassured participants that despite the social disorder years ago, Hong Kong has welcomed the restoration of stability, socially and politically, with the support from the Central government.
Citing global indices, Hong Kong has climbed back to third place in the Global Financial Centres Index, behind only New York and London. “The Fraser Institute once again ranked Hong Kong as the world’s freest economy. The World Investment Report 2021 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, ranked Hong Kong the world’s third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment last year. These rankings demonstrate that Hong Kong remains an attractive place for investment,” Ms Mo continued.
Besides, she highlighted that there are ample development opportunities for Hong Kong with the support of the Central Government. “China’s National 14th Five-Year Plan enhances the status of Hong Kong as an international aviation hub, an international I&T hub, a regional IP trading centre, and a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world,” Ms Mo said.
Following the welcome remarks, an interactive Question and Answer session moderated by the National Chair of HKCBA, Ms Cindy Ho, and panel discussions were arranged for participants to gain insights from how companies of different sizes benefitted from their presence in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong’s significant role in Canadian trade diversification under the new Indo-Pacific strategy.