Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) (HKETO), Miss Kathy Chan, attended the Chinese New Year Gala Dinner hosted by the Confederation of Greater Toronto Chinese Business Association (the Confederation) on February 17. Earlier on 16 February, Miss Chan also attended the Mississauga Chinese Business Association Chinese New Year Reception.
Speaking at the galas, Miss Chan was delighted to note that Hong Kong is once again rated by the US-based Heritage Foundation as the freest economy in the world for the 24th consecutive year. She remarked that Hong Kong is an excellent place to do business and offers many unique advantages under the “one country, two systems” principle.
Miss Chan recognised the efforts paid by the Chinese Business Associations in the promotion of bilateral trade relations between Canada and China over the years, and encouraged Canadian enterprises to consider using Hong Kong as a leverage point.
Miss Chan said, “Not only do Hong Kong people have the knowledge, experience and network of doing business with Mainland China, Hong Kong and Mainland China have signed a Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), under which Hong Kong has preferential investment access in different services and non-services sectors on Mainland China.” Canadian business can enjoy these benefits by establishing a presence in Hong Kong or by working with a Hong Kong partner.
In addition, there would be lots of opportunities to businesses arising from the national initiative of developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area (Bay Area), a mega city cluster with a population of 66 million and a GDP comparable to that of Korea or Australia.
Hong Kong is working with the Central Government to implement measures to enhance the flows of capital, goods and people between Hong Kong and the rest of the Bay Area. In fact, the connectivity between Hong Kong and other cities in the Bay Area will be enhanced with the completion of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge later this year. Miss Chan said, “The express rail link will connect Hong Kong to Guangzhou in 50 minutes, while the new bridge would substantially reduce the travelling time from Zhuhai to Hong Kong Airport from 4 hours to 45 minutes.”
On top of these, Hong Kong is also an excellent platform for Canadian companies to tap into Southeast Asia. Noting that Hong Kong has successfully concluded negotiations of a free trade agreement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last year, Miss Chan said, “When the agreement comes into force next year, Canadian enterprises can make use of the facilitation measures to open the ASEAN market.”
Before closing, Miss Chan encouraged the audience to collaborate with Hong Kong in pursuing the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative and welcomed them to join the third Belt and Road Summit to be held in Hong Kong on June 28.
On these very happy occasions, Miss Chan wished all participants a happy and prosperous Year of the Dog.
Earlier this month, Deputy Director of HKETO, Miss Florence Tsang, also attended the Chinese New Year Celebration held by the Toronto Chinese Business Association to encourage Canadian entrepreneurs to make use of Hong Kong as a platform to explore the market of Mainland China and Asia.