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Speech by Mr K C Kwong
Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting at Signing of the HKSAR/UK MOU on IT Co-operation

22 June 1999

Mr Byers, Sir Andrew, members of the United Kingdom delegation, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first extend a warm welcome to Mr Byers and our friends from the United Kingdom. We are gathered here today to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation in information technology, information services and telecommunications between the Hong Kong SAR and the United Kingdom. The signing of this MOU signifies a concrete step in the further development of the already extensive ties between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

The rapid advances in information technology and telecommunications have completely transformed the world in which we live. In the new Information Age, time zone differences and geographical distances are no longer impediments to close interaction between physically separated communities. And co-operation is the key to success now that we are becoming a truly global village. This co-operative spirit is central to the MOU which we will be signing today.

The Government of the Hong Kong SAR has so far signed two MOUs on IT co-operation : with Canada and Australia respectively. Since these two MOUs were signed last year, we and our partners have organised a number of activities under the MOUs. These collaborative activities have proved to be mutually beneficial and enriching. This has encouraged us to explore the opportunities for entering into similar co-operation with other countries. We are pleased with the enthusiastic response we got when the idea was broached with the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong and the Department of Trade and Industry in London. We firmly believe that bilateral co-operation involving both the public and the private sectors between Hong Kong and the UK will help to advance our mutual interests in the rapidly evolving fields of information technology, information services and telecommunications.

The Hong Kong/UK MOU contemplates an extensive range of co-operative activities : from commercial and industrial exchanges to investment and technology partnerships, from educational and learning exchanges to the sharing of policy and regulatory information. I am confident that with our concerted efforts, the MOU that we are about to sign will deliver the benefits that it promises. My colleagues and I look forward to working closely with our British counterparts in the years to come.

Thank you.