27 July 2011
High-level Hong Kong Business Delegation Visits Japan
Trade Promotion Focus for First Mission since March Disaster
27 July 2011 – The Hong Kong-Japan Business Cooperation Committee (JBCC) and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) have concluded a jointly-organised high-level business mission to Japan to provide a much-needed boost for bilateral trade. The Hong Kong business delegation’s 23-27 July trip was the first such group to visit Japan since the nation’s recent earthquake and tsunami.
Led by JBCC Chairman Jonathan Choi and HKTDC Executive Director Fred Lam, the delegation met with senior members of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) in Tokyo yesterday. Both sides exchanged views on how to further enhance business partnerships between Hong Kong and Japan.
The Keidanren is the most powerful and influential economic organisation in Japan and acts as the secretariat of the Japan-Hong Kong Business Cooperation Committee, the Japanese counterpart of the JBCC.
Condolences and Encouragement
Dr Choi spoke on behalf of the Hong Kong delegation to expressed deepest condolences to those affected by Japan’s triple disasters – an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis which struck the northeast coast last March.
“We are here, all of us, to build on the longstanding ties between Hong Kong and Japan,” Dr Choi said. “I’m pleased to say that our economic relations, despite the recent 3.11 incidents in Japan, remain strong and dynamic.”
Mr Lam called on Japanese enterprises to make use of Hong Kong’s business platform to tap into the Chinese mainland market in order to raise business development funds. He said the recent formation of a Hong Kong IPO Club in Japan illustrates how Japanese enterprises are already taking up such opportunities.
Memorandum of Understanding
The Keidanren’s Hong Kong Business Committee Chairman Akimitsu Ashida, who is also Chairman of Mitsui O.S.K Lines, welcomed the delegation. He said, “It is a significant opportunity and timing to have the Hong Kong delegation here today, and to have an exchange of views about our post-crisis relationship, and hear concrete business proposals from Hong Kong people.”
“It has been four months since Japan was struck, now the Government is working out the basic policy for the reconstruction from the disaster,” he noted. “As a part of the Keidanren, we maintain and strengthen our external economic relations, and thereby keep the recovery moving ahead.”
Prior to the meeting, the HKTDC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Organisation for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, Japan (SMRJ). The agreement aims to strengthen relations between the two organisations and promotes trade and economic cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong and Japan.
“Although we have been working with and keeping a good relationship with the HKTDC, I sincerely hope the memorandum marks another big step of a long and prosperous business relationship between Hong Kong and Japan,” said Ichiro Takahara, Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, at the signing ceremony. “I recognise that our key role is to assist Japanese SMEs to export to China, particularly their good technologies, so we really need Hong Kong’s support as our partner.”
SMRJ is an independent administrative agency that implements SME policies in Japan, with the objective of contributing to the development of Japanese SMEs and revitalisation of the regional economy.
The Hong Kong delegation also included Victor Cha, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of HKR International Limited; Peter Hung, Chairman of Hop Hing Group Holdings Limited; Daryl Ng, Executive Director of Sino Group; Daniel Shao, Managing Director of Van Yu Group of Companies; and Thomas Jefferson Wu, Managing Director of Hopewell Holdings Limited. The group arrived in Osaka on 23 July and left for Tokyo on 25 July. While most delegates have come back to Hong Kong today, some will go on to Sendai.
During the trip, they met with Japanese business and political leaders and visited major corporations and agricultural developments. In response to international concern about Japanese food production, they also met the country’s Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Shuji Yamada, in Tokyo.
Japan is Hong Kong’s third-largest export market and its second-largest source of imports. Last year, exports from Hong Kong to Japan totalled US$16.4 billion while the total value of trade amounted to US$55.9 billion.
While total trade between Hong Kong and Japan recorded strong growth of 14 per cent in the first quarter of this year, it dropped 5.9 per cent in April and May combined over last year. But the HKTDC expects that bilateral trade will gradually pick up as production activities in Japan’s northeast are restored in the second half of 2011.
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About the HKTDC
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 11 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com