HKETO Newsroom

September 27, 2018

SCED: Hong Kong bears strong testimony to benefits of free trade

Free trade promotes economic development and benefits the whole world, and Hong Kong bears strong testimony to this as the seventh largest merchandise trading entity in the world despite its small size, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said at a luncheon during his visit to Washington, DC, the United States (US) today (September 26, Eastern Standard Time).

The business luncheon was co-organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Washington, DC (Washington ETO) and Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, and supported by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Invest Hong Kong and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Yau said that Hong Kong's achievements in practising and preaching free trade are recognised worldwide, citing the ranking of Hong Kong by the Heritage Foundation as the world's freest economic for 24 consecutive years.

"Such recognition comes from our unique status under 'one country, two systems' in accordance with the Basic Law. Our trading partners around the world, including the US, have benefited from our unique status and have conducted trade, commerce and investment with us," Mr Yau added.

He also spoke on Hong Kong's strengths in the global trading landscape. "We maintain our unique strengths in our rule of law, judicial independence, our capitalist system, low and simple tax regime, rights and freedoms, free flow of capital and information, and effective law enforcement across boundaries on various fronts, including intellectual property protection," he said.

In the morning, Mr Yau delivered a keynote speech at a seminar entitled "The United States, Hong Kong & China: Innovation Economies in the 21st Century" co-organised by Washington ETO and the Atlantic Council.

He emphasised Hong Kong's advantages and exceptional position in the evolving global economic and trade architecture and the era of innovation and the digital economy. He added that Hong Kong has served for decades as a strategic gateway for trade and investment into and out of the Asia Pacific region.

"Hong Kong is strategically situated to capitalise on the emerging cross-regional opportunities, and offers comparative advantages for those utilising the city's strengths. Under the 'one country, two systems' arrangement, Hong Kong maintains separate economic and legal systems from Mainland China. As champions of free trade and a level-playing field, Hong Kong has been widely recognised as one of the best places in the world to do business," he said.

Mr Yau also pointed out that Hong Kong must identify and nurture emerging sectors for ongoing economic diversification and realignment, especially in innovation and technology, by focusing on four areas, namely biotechnology, smart city applications, financial technology and artificial intelligence and big data analytics.

Before the luncheon, Mr Yau met with the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ted Yoho, and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Dave Reichert. They exchanged views on Hong Kong-US relations and trade-related issues.

Mr Yau will depart for Canada this evening and proceed to visit Ottawa and Montreal tomorrow (September 27, Ottawa time). He will call on senior government officials, Canadian parliament members and local Hong Kong business community to discuss issues on trade and economic co-operation between Hong Kong and Canada.

September 27, 2018

商務及經濟發展局局長:香港是自由貿易益處強而有力的見證者

商務及經濟發展局局長邱騰華今日(美國東岸時間九月二十六日)在美國華盛頓出席商務午餐會時表示,自由貿易可促進經濟發展,令全球獲益,香港正是一個強而有力的見證,雖然只是一個細小的經濟體,但是全球第七大商品貿易實體。

商務午餐會由香港駐華盛頓經濟貿易辦事處和國泰航空有限公司合辦,香港美國商會、投資推廣署及美國商會支持。

邱騰華說,香港致力奉行及推廣自由貿易,成就獲舉世公認,美國傳統基金會已連續二十四年將香港評為全球最自由經濟體。

他說:「這榮譽建基於香港根據《基本法》獲賦予『一國兩制』的獨特地位。全球貿易夥伴包括美國,在與香港進行貿易或商業投資時,均可得益於此獨特地位。」

就香港在全球貿易中的優勢,邱騰華說:「我們在多方面擁有獨特優勢,如法治精神、司法獨立、資本主義制度、低稅率及簡單稅制、人權和自由、資金和資訊自由流通,以及在多個領域上有效的跨境執法,包括在知識產權保障方面。」

邱騰華早上亦出席由香港駐華盛頓經濟貿易辦事處和大西洋理事會合辦題為「美國、香港和中國:二十一世紀創新經濟體」的論壇,並發表主題演講。

他強調,在不斷轉變的環球經濟和貿易形勢下,以及創新和數碼經濟時代中,香港擁有非凡的優勢和地位,過去數十年一直是亞太區商貿及投資的策略性門戶。

他說:「香港的策略性位置有助其把握新興的跨區域性機遇,讓企業可善用香港所長,取得商機。在『一國兩制』的原則下,香港擁有獨立於內地的經濟和法律制度;而作為自由貿易與公平競爭的倡議者,香港更獲公認為全球最佳營商地方之一。」

邱騰華同時指出,香港必須積極物色及培育新興行業,以促進多元經濟發展和應對經濟轉型,尤其要在創新及科技範疇上,專注推動四方面的發展,分別是生物科技、智慧城市應用、金融科技,以及人工智能和大數據分析。

午餐會前,邱騰華與美國眾議院外交事務委員會亞太小組主席眾議員Ted Yoho和籌款委員會貿易小組主席眾議員Dave Reichert會面,就港美關係和貿易相關事宜交流意見。

邱騰華傍晚轉赴加拿大,並於明日(渥太華時間九月二十七日)展開在渥太華和蒙特利爾的訪問行程。他會與加拿大政府高級官員、國會議員和當地的香港商界人士會面,討論香港與加拿大的經貿合作事宜。