SCED's speech at closing plenary of 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business in Vietnam (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the closing plenary of the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam today (November 22).
Minister Gabriel, Dr Lienhard, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my very great pleasure to attend the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business here in Ho Chi Minh City. This is a precious opportunity for prominent figures in German business and policy-makers in the Asia-Pacific region to get together and share views on the trends and perspectives in this fast growing part of the world.
I am very much encouraged by the confidence of German businesses in Hong Kong, in choosing Hong Kong as the host city for the next Asia-Pacific Conference in 2016. This signifies the long established ties and friendship between Hong Kong and Germany, and highlights our importance as a financial and trading hub in the region.
Germany has been our largest trading partner in Europe, with some 13 billion euro worth of bilateral trade last year. The German expatriate community is also a great source of ideas and enterprises in Hong Kong. German engineering supports the massive infrastructure development that is ongoing in our city. German designs enhance our way of life, and quality German brands never fail to give us a "feel good factor", whether we are behind the wheel of a car, relaxing at home or enjoying a beer with friends.
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 are also ranked the third in ease of doing business by World Bank recently. These recognitions reaffirm our incessant efforts in business facilitation. We would strive to cut red tape, eliminate outdated or unnecessary regulations on business, enhance regulatory efficiency and reduce business compliance costs, all with the aim to further improve the ease of doing business in Hong Kong.
When I say "doing business in Hong Kong", I do not mean the Hong Kong market alone. Hong Kong is 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 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 the internationally recognised codes of practice, in business and commerce, familiar to all of you. We guarantee a level-playing field for all companies, 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 Minister Gabriel and Dr Lienhard again for inviting me to this year's Asia-Pacific Conference. I can assure you that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government accords high priority to the Asia-Pacific Conference in 2016 in Hong Kong. I am sure the success of the Conference will take the already strong ties between Germany and Hong Kong to new heights.
Hong Kong is not only about trade and finance. We are also renowned for our hospitality to visitors. I look forward to welcoming you all in Hong Kong in 2016.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Saturday, November 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:00