SCED's speech at 2nd World SME Summit
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the 2nd World SME Summit today (December 6):
David (Ting) (Chairman of the Chamber), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. I am delighted to join you all at the 2nd World SME Summit today.
SMEs are the pillar of Hong Kong's economy. They make up over 98 per cent of local business establishments and account for nearly half of the total employment in the private sector. The Government is committed to providing strong support for the sustainable development of SMEs to enable them to enhance competitiveness and explore new markets and opportunities. Apart from maintaining a business-friendly environment, we provide SMEs with various kinds of funding support, excellent infrastructure, the latest market information as well as business advisory and consultation services.
Even though we are a small economy, Hong Kong has thrived as a global and regional financial, logistics and information hub, and a gateway of doing business with the Mainland. Coupled with the international vision, abundant business experience, flexibility and innovation of our enterprises, Hong Kong is an ideal partner for doing business.
The external economic environment remains uncertain. The euro zone sovereign debt crisis persists and the US economy is clouded by the risk of a fiscal cliff. Demand from our traditional American and European export markets remains weak. It is imminent for us to explore new opportunities offered by the fast-growing emerging economies in Asia and Africa. The Summit is timely for us to bring our heads together to see how our SMEs can forge partnerships with enterprises from around the world to jointly achieve success in Asia and Africa.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is our second largest trading partner after Mainland China. Owing to our strategic position as the two-way bridge between Mainland China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong is an important conduit of trade and investment flows between ASEAN and Mainland China. We made a request to join the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area in November last year. Our participation in the Free Trade Area will not only strengthen the supply chain and better connect markets in the region, but also make the flow of capital, technology, entrepreneurship and people more efficient.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business for making this Summit possible. I wish today's Summit every success and to be a rewarding experience for all. Thank you.
Thursday, December 6, 2012