Speeches and Presentations

SCED's speech at signing ceremony of MOU between Hong Kong and Israel on bilateral co-operation in industrial R&D (English only)

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Hong Kong and Israel on bilateral co-operation in industrial research and development (R&D) today (February 17):

Consul General (Sagi) Karni, Mr (Avi) Hasson, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

Welcome to the signing ceremony of the MOU between Hong Kong and Israel on bilateral co-operation in industrial research and development. It is my pleasure to be here today to seal this very important co-operation agreement with Israel - a world leader in innovation and technology development. I especially welcome Mr Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy of Israel, and thank him for making a special trip to Hong Kong for this important signing ceremony.

The co-operation and collaboration between Hong Kong and Israel have flourished on various fronts over the years, ranging from trade to cultural activities. Israeli companies and entrepreneurs have played an important role in Hong Kong's business community, with many companies doing business in Hong Kong and many others establishing their regional headquarters in our city. They are a diverse group involving telecommunications, high technology, finance and transportation. Noting the increased importance of Hong Kong, Israel opened its Economic and Trade Mission within the Consulate General in Hong Kong in October last year, assisting both Israel- and Hong Kong-based companies to forge closer ties and create value. Hong Kong is Israel's fifth largest trading partner in Asia and Israel is Hong Kong's second largest trading partner in the Middle East. In 2013, bilateral trade between the two markets reached about US$6.14 billion.

Promoting the development of technology as a means of fostering economic development is of mutual interest to both Hong Kong and Israel. I am delighted to see that our partnership is extended to industrial R&D co-operation with the intention of enhancing industrial competiveness of both places. Our strengths complement each other for promoting industrial R&D and subsequent commercialisation of the products to capture regional and global markets. While Israel is at the forefront of science and technology development, Hong Kong has a robust intellectual property protection regime to safeguard the value of ideas and innovation. Our technology savvy business community is well connected and attuned to the markets in this region and especially Mainland China. Hong Kong is also one of the top regions with investment in the Mainland. When the business and technology communities of both places join forces they would find more ways to multiply their business ideas and opportunities.

The MOU marks an important milestone of strengthening the ties between Hong Kong and Israel. With a strong commitment from the governments and industry sectors of both places, I am confident that this collaboration would inspire more joint innovative activities in future and drive the innovation and technology development of Hong Kong and Israel to even greater heights.

Thank you.

Monday, February 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:20