Speech by SCED at opening ceremony of Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show 2018 (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show 2018 today (February 27):
Kent (Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Jewellery Advisory Committee, Mr Kent Wong), Lawrence (Chairman of the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show organising committees, Mr Lawrence Ma), Margaret (Executive Director of the HKTDC, Ms Margaret Fong), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
As we are still within the festive Chinese New Year period, may I take this opportunity to say Kung Hei Fat Choy, and wish you all a prosperous new year ahead.
My Chinese New Year wish to you may be realised very soon, right in this exhibition hall. This Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show, together with the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show starting in two days' time, are the largest jewellery marketplaces in the world, attracting over 4 400 exhibitors and 85 000 buyers from around the globe. The twin shows provide a platform for international buyers and suppliers to meet, make connections, and do business.
Outside this exhibition hall, Hong Kong provides a platform for the wider business community. Just like diamonds, gems and pearls, Hong Kong is a dazzling metropolitan and international business hub in Asia. We are committed to leveraging our fundamental strengths and unique advantages under the "one country, two systems" and providing a friendly environment for all businesses.
While Hong Kong is already an important market in its own right, I am sure you are also seeing Hong Kong as your gateway to reach a much bigger market in the region. The Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area will offer abundant opportunities. With enhanced infrastructure development and strengthened bonding along the Belt and Road, all business sectors can, through Hong Kong, benefit from the increasing market demands and improving connectivity.
Last year, we signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which is collectively our second largest merchandise trading partner. Under the agreement, ASEAN countries agree to cut tariffs on a wide range of Hong Kong products, including jewellery, watches and clocks.
We will actively seek to sign free trade agreements with other economies, including those along the Belt and Road, to open up markets and strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international trading centre. Coupled with the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, the free trade pact between Mainland China and Hong Kong, Hong Kong is the ideal middleman for foreign companies to tap the opportunities in the fast growing markets in Mainland China and Asia, as well as for Mainland Chinese companies to go global.
The Hong Kong Government, together with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, our agency for trade promotion, are ready to assist companies in realising opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. For example, I will lead a business delegation to Vietnam and Cambodia next month to explore the markets there. I look forward to co-operating closely with enterprises and chambers of commerce to translate policies into business opportunities.
I wish you all great success at the twin shows and an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.
Ends/Tuesday, February 27, 2018