SCED's speech at evening reception hosted by SFETO in Los Angeles (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at an evening reception in Los Angeles (LA) hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco today (December 12, Los Angeles time):
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. I am so happy to see old friends and new tonight in Pasadena, home to the Rose Bowl. It is a pity that I cannot stay till the New Year Day for the 101st Rose Bowl Game in history.
It is my great pleasure to be back in Los Angeles, the City of Angels. This is indeed a great place of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, sports, education, science and technology. Well, the list can go on and on. Every time I am in LA, there is always something new and fascinating going on.
Hong Kong and LA have always enjoyed close economic ties. Many major companies from the LA region have offices and operations in Hong Kong. In fact, Hong Kong is one of the very few places in the world that has the privilege of having a Disneyland theme park.
Just like LA, Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting city with a lot to offer. Our unique East-meets-West culture and excellent location continues to help attract tourists both from Mainland China and around the world. In Hong Kong, visitors can enjoy city-wide duty-free shopping, extraordinary cuisine, bustling street scenes, lively nightlife and world-class theme parks, all in a very safe multicultural and multilingual environment. What you may not know is that some of our beautiful beaches and scenic hiking trails are only half an hour away from our central business district.
Hong Kong has always been a good place for doing business. We have been ranked the world's freest economy for 20 consecutive years by the Heritage Foundation. We were also ranked the third in ease of doing business by the World Bank recently. These recognitions reaffirm our incessant efforts in business facilitation, and that means we always strive to make it faster, easier and cheaper to do business in Hong Kong.
When I say "do business in Hong Kong", I do not mean the Hong Kong market alone. On its own, Hong Kong is relatively small with some 7 million people. But when you consider that we received more than 54 million visitors last year, including almost 41 million from Mainland China, Hong Kong is a great platform for international brands to reach a wide audience in our part of the world. As an international financial centre and trading hub, Hong Kong is also a natural springboard to the buoyant Mainland China and Asian markets.
We are strategically located at the heart of Asia - at the doorstep of Mainland China and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region. We have an open and business-friendly environment with low and simple taxes. We practise the rule of law, which is underpinned by judicial independence. We embrace internationally recognised codes of practice that are familiar to American companies. We guarantee a level-playing field, and free flows of capital, information and talent. In short, we bring to the world both global standards and unlimited Asian opportunities.
In closing, I would like to thank you all for coming to this reception. I look forward to talking to you tonight to tell you more about what Hong Kong has to offer for your business or your next visit. Thank you.
Ends/Saturday, December 13, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:14