Hong Kong Economy Has Unique Qualities, Korean President Tells HK Delegation
Hong Kong's economy possesses "unique qualities" which enable it to play an important role in the economic development of China and Southeast Asia, said the President of Korea, Mr Kim Dae Jung.
President Kim was speaking to a 10-member Hong Kong delegation led by the Chairman of the Trade Development Council, Dr Victor K Fung, at the Presidential office, the Blue House, yesterday (Tuesday, 1 December).
The 45-minute meeting focused on strategies for promoting new partnerships between Hong Kong and Korean businesses, to enable both to make the most of emerging economic opportunities throughout the region.
The presidential meeting was the highlight of the three-day mission in Korea which concluded in Seoul today (Wednesday) with the 5th gathering of the Korea/Hong Kong Business Round Table discussions.
At the Blue House meeting, President Kim told delegates that he attached great importance to his country's long-standing and close ties with Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a great friend as well as a market and a business partner, the delegation was told.
President Kim said he expected the Hong Kong-Korea partnership to move to a new level, following the implementation of new policies to liberalise Korea's markets, and the lifting of restrictions on trade, imports and foreign investment.
The Hong Kong delegates welcomed the President's commitment to the creation of a market economy, and the easier access it would give to Hong Kong's exporters.
Dr Fung told the President that Hong Kong was now a better partner than ever for Korean business. "The growth in the number of Korean small and medium-sized enterprises, the renewed emphasis on exports, and the move towards higher value, mid-level technology, are all new economic trends with which Hong Kong is excellently qualified to help," said Dr Fung.
"Hong Kong can also help Korean companies diversify away from production, move into marketing and distribution, and access the most promising markets on the Chinese mainland, such as those in the southern provinces," Dr Fung said.
Hong Kong's development of a second Stock Market board also offers great opportunities for Korean companies to raise funds, he added.
At today's Round Table, business leaders on both sides reaffirmed their commitment to working together to rebuild growth in their economies.
They discussed strategies for further developing their business partnership, to help re-start the region's growth and make the most of the opportunities that would arise as their economies improved.
The Korean members, led by the Chairman of Korea International Trade Association (KITA), Mr Pyong-Hwoi Koo, briefed the Hong Kong delegation on the latest reforms and moves towards liberalisation in the Korean economy.
Members agreed that while current economic conditions were difficult, the medium and long-term prospects for their economies were bright. Hong Kong's free market system and position as the financial and trade centre of Asia, and Korea's reform and economic liberalisation measures, meant the two were well positioned to make the most of improved global economic conditions.
In particular members saw promising opportunities for an expanded bilateral partnership in the next century, in industry, technology, distribution, and infrastructure building.
Members agreed that excellent business openings would also be created by bringing together Korea's traditional expertise in the markets and manufacturing facilities of north-eastern China, and Hong Kong's unmatched contacts in the southern provinces. Hong Kong's extensive marketing and distribution networks - which extend throughout the Chinese mainland - would also play an important role.
The Korea/Hong Kong Business Round Table was founded in 1993, with the aim of promoting closer relations between the two business communities. The meetings foster high level economic co-operation and provide a forum for corporate leaders and industry experts from both sides to identify and explore opportunities for business development, partnerships and strategic alliances.
The TDC acts as the secretariat for the Hong Kong delegation to the Round Table, while KITA serves the same function for the Korean delegation.
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