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Concluding Remarks on Hong Kong by U.S. President Clinton at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Remarks by the Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Dr. Victor Fung
Introducing the British Minister
Mr. Tony Blair
A Hong Kong Business Luncheon in his Honour
October 9, 1998

Prime Minister, Consul General, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is my great pleasure to welcome you back, Prime Minister, to the very place where Britain and China made history together just 15 months ago. And where the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was born.

We should all feel proud of the outstanding achievements of the transition and grateful for the strong foundations on which Hong Kong is building for a future of even greater success, reunified with China.

As you can see, as a community we continue to evolve, to debate and to aspire confident of our systems, believing in ourselves and determined to fulfil our potential as Asia's pre-eminent hub for global business.

Of course, the news on the economic front has not been good this past year. Because we are such an open economy, the impact of Asia's turmoil on Hong Kong has been particularly severe.

But the speed of our economic adjustment is precisely one of Hong Kong's great strengths, along with the soundness of our systems and the outwardness of our focus.

Costs are coming down. The value we deliver our international partners is increasing. And none of our fundamental advantages for international business - from our strategic location to the entrepreneurial skills of our companies - have diminished.

We are particularly fortunate at this time to have the Chinese mainland as our hinterland. And Europe as one of most important business partners.

For both continue to enjoy economic growth and to broaden the scope of their relationship. And Hong Kong continues to play a pivotal role in bringing both together, providing contacts, know-how and countless value-added services.

So you are and your delegation are doubly welcome, Prime Minister. For Europe is truly a bright spot on Hong Kong's business horizon. At the same time, Britain remains Hong Kong's principal link to Europe. Many Hong Kong companies view Britain - with our unique ties of language, law and culture - as their first and best entry point to Europe. And many British companies targeting Asia still set up and prosper, first, in Hong Kong.

You need little introduction, Prime Minister, to this audience. We have felt the spring in Britain's step since you took office. We have watched you through this eventful year at the helm of European affairs, during Britain's Presidency of Europe. We have welcomed your timely call to action to avert a global financial crisis. And we congratulate you on your success in taking Britain's relationship with China to new heights. Hong Kong, the bridge between East and West, looks forward to playing our part in this comprehensive partnership.

And now, Prime Minister, it is my great privilege to invite you to address us.

For press enquiries, please contact William Cheung of the TDC's Media & Corporate Communications at 2584-4333.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council