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French-Hong Kong business relations cemented by new partnerships

The first session of the Hong Kong - France Business Partnership Plenary was held in Hong Kong on 21 November. Pictured with Former Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin and Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Donald Tsang are (left to right) executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) Fred Lam; chairman of the Hong Kong section, David Lie; chairman of the France section, Charles Henri Filippi; executive director of Ubifrance, Louis-Michel Morris (far right).

French companies can benefit from Hong Kong's unique service platform to do business in China, according to the Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Mr Peter Woo. He was speaking in Hong Kong at the launch of the first Hong Kong - France Business Partnership Plenary on 21 November.

"This initiative is testimony of the importance our two regions offer each other, as well as the closeness of our relationship," said former Prime Minister and Member of the Senate of France, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who is leading a delegation of 100 French companies to World SME Expo in Hong Kong, where the French Agency for International Business Development (Ubifrance) decided to have a particularly strong presence this year.

Initiated by Mr Peter Woo, and Mr Francois Loos, former Minister for Foreign Trade and now Minister for Industry, the Business Partnership will unite business leaders from both sides, and will promote trade, investment and business co-operation and understanding between French and Hong Kong companies, particularly SMEs.

Mr David Lie, chairman of the Hong Kong section, said that companies coming to Hong Kong not only had access to Hong Kong's market, but also the market of the Pan- Pearl River Delta region.

"In the same way Hong Kong can offer a gateway to China for French companies, France can offer a gateway to Europe for Hong Kong companies," said chairman, France section, Mr Charles-Henri Filippi.

Key industries were identified for closer collaboration, including creative industries, electronics, retail and distribution, and infrastructure and environmental protection.

On the same day as the Plenary, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Mr Aram Hekimian, Deputy CEO, Wavecom and Dr Allan Wong, CEO, ASTRI in order to develop technologies in common dedicated to Asian markets, particularly in the areas of GSM, GPRS, and edge 3G.

Members on both sides agreed on the need for concrete actions to sustain this initiative and to spread it to local SMEs in both economies.

The second plenary meeting will be held in 2006 in Paris.

For more information contact :

Dominique Duchiron, Corporate Communication Manager, Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Paris tel +33-1-4742-8853 email dominique.duchiron@tdc.org.hk

Pascal Furth, Deputy Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of France in Hong Kong tel +852-21583701 email pascal.furth@missioneco.org

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