The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) (Toronto ETO) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) and the Hong Kong Tourism Board (Canada) (HKTB) jointly held a Lunar New Year reception in Toronto today (February 22, Toronto time) to celebrate the Year of the Dog.
In her welcoming remarks at the reception, Director of Toronto ETO, Miss Kathy Chan, updated guests on the economic performance of Hong Kong in 2017 and said the city continued to prosper under the “one country, two systems” principle.
"Hong Kong has been crowned as the world’s freest economy for 24 consecutive years by the United States' Heritage Foundation. We also continued to top the Fraser Institute’s World Economic Freedom Index every year since its first report in 1995," Miss Chan said.
"In addition, we have been assessed as the world’s most competitive economy for the second consecutive year by the International Institute for Management Development," she added.
Miss Chan highlighted that Hong Kong is working to introduce a two-tier profits tax system, which will enhance Hong Kong’s attractiveness as a premier place to do business. Specifically, the corporate profits tax rate for the first HK$2 million profits (around CAD300,000) will be halved from 16.5% to 8.25% and we aim to implement this new tax rate within 2018.
Another measure will be the additional tax reduction to encourage research and development (R&D) investment such that the first HK$2 million (around CAD300,000) eligible R&D expenditure will enjoy as much as a 300% tax deduction with the remainder at 200%.
Miss Chan said Hong Kong’s economy has benefitted from closer economic co-operation with Mainland China over the years. The new national strategy of developing the Hong Kong-Guangdong-Macao Bay Area (the Bay Area), which linked Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong Province, would bring enormous opportunities to businesses operating in Hong Kong.
Turning to Hong Kong-Canada relations, Miss Chan noted that the two places continued to be important trading partners. Hong Kong was Canada’s eighth-largest merchandise export market and the largest export market for frozen beef as well as fourth-largest for fish and seafood in 2016.
Miss Chan also remarked that bilateral trade ties between the two sides continue to strengthen. In late November to early December last year, Premier of Ontario of Canada, Ms Kathleen Wynne, led a trade mission to China including Hong Kong. During her stay in Hong Kong, she met with the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, and they discussed opportunities to work as partners in areas of interest for both parties, including technology and R&D.
Other than trade relations, Miss Chan said that Hong Kong and Canada also share close human ties. The Canadian community is among the largest foreign communities in Hong Kong and around 400 000 Canadian nationals visited or resided in Hong Kong in 2016. In order to encourage youths of the two places to experience the life of each other, the two governments had increased the 2017 quota of the Working Holiday Scheme from 200 to 240 on a one-off basis. Air transport link between Hong Kong and Canada has become more frequent during the past year. Last June, Hong Kong Airlines started a new non-stop daily service between Hong Kong and Vancouver. Cathay Pacific has also increased the frequency of its flights connecting Hong Kong and Canada in the past year.
Miss Chan added that the HKSARG welcomes Canadian people to go to Hong Kong to develop their career. Last March, a delegation from the Hong Kong Immigration Department visited Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to promote various admission schemes in order to attract talent, professionals and entrepreneurs from Canada to Hong Kong. In particular, she said that a pilot scheme was introduced in 2015 to attract the second generation of Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents to pursue careers in the city. As at the end of last year, 58 applications from Canada had been approved under the pilot scheme.
Miss Chan concluded by reviewing the multifarious events organised or supported by HKETO last year across Canada to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR in 2017, including gala dinners, film festivals, cultural performances by Hong Kong performing arts groups, photo and painting exhibitions, as well as business and academic seminars. She said that Toronto ETO would continue to organise or support various business and cultural activities across Canada in 2018 to promote bilateral relations between Hong Kong and Canada on all fronts.
During the reception, Director for Canada, Central and South America of HKTB, Mr Michael Lim, reviewed the tourism marketing plans for Canada in 2018. “In view of the positive macro environment, it will be a good opportunity for us to drive visitor arrivals with multi-channel integrated campaigns leveraging our ‘Best of All, It’s in Hong Kong’ theme, as well as to accelerate our multi destination partnerships with Asian destinations including China, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam. Overall, we want to invite visitors to ‘Discover Hong Kong like a local’,” he said.
About 120 guests, including representatives from the business sector, local communities, academia and the media, joined the reception. A similar reception would be held in Vancouver on 7 March.
香港特別行政區政府 （香港特區政府） 駐多倫多經濟貿易辦事處 （香港經貿處） 與香港旅遊發展局 （加拿大）（香港旅發局）於今日（多倫多時間二月二十二日）在多倫多合辦農曆新年招待會，慶祝戊戌狗年到臨。
在招待會上，香港旅發局加拿大及中、南美洲幹事林兒銘亦談及二○一八年在加拿大的市務推廣計劃。他說：「現時加國整體政治、經濟大環境向好，甚為適合推動旅客赴港觀光。配合『盡享 • 最香港』的品牌推廣，今年的活動會綜合多媒體及頻道，邀請旅客發掘香港道地特色，以及和亞洲幾個旅遊夥伴如中國、泰國，台灣和越南等合作設計多種旅遊產品進行銷售。」