21 Oct 2010
Hong Kong Business Delegation in Paris for Plenary
Sixth Session of Hong Kong-France Business Partnership
21 October 2010 – French luxury brand-building and the country’s sustainable development expertise led discussions today at the Hong Kong-France Business Partnership’s sixth Plenary session in Paris. The gathering of senior Hong Kong and French business players and government officials took place at the Palais-Bourbon, the official seat of the French National Assembly.
At the Plenary, Hong Kong Government Financial Secretary John Tsang spoke of the new double taxation-avoidance agreement he had signed earlier that morning with the French Minister for Economy, Industry and Employment Christine Lagarde. “It will provide an even greater incentive for businesses like those represented here today to expand the flow of knowledge, talent and trade between Hong Kong and France. In the post-global financial crisis era, Hong Kong has a highly effective role to play as the business and financial centre of French firms in Asia.”
The Business Partnership’s French Chair, Jean Lemierre, was equally upbeat about Hong Kong’s role. “The macroeconomic environment of Hong Kong is remarkably safe, with a sound banking system, which attracts funding,” he said. “Investment and trade in renminbi will be the future for many companies,” he added. “The world does not present a very optimistic picture at this time, but we are very optimistic about Hong Kong.”
Window to China
Speaking during “The Making of French Luxury Brands” session, Richemont Asia Pacific Ltd Regional Chief Executive Alain Li emphasised Hong Kong’s role in helping French companies tap the growing Chinese mainland luxury market. “Hong Kong will continue to be a destination of choice for the increasing number of mainland luxury customers,” he said. “We should think of Hong Kong not as a gateway, but as the main window into China. This is not only a matter of different prices or taxes; customers truly appreciate the experience of coming to shop in Hong Kong.”
At the “Achieving a Low-Carbon Economy” session, Veolia Water Systems Executive Vice-President, Major Project Groups, Michel Canet announced that his company had just won a tender from the Hong Kong Government to build a major sludge treatment plant. “It will showcase Hong Kong’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint,” he said, “creating an environmentally conscious asset that will serve as an iconic landmark for Hong Kong.”
Otto Poon, Chairman of Hong Kong’s Analogue Holdings Ltd, a partner in the sludge treatment plant project, told the Plenary that “we need various technologies from French companies, so that we may give Hong Kong a lower carbon footprint and a better environment.”
"It is our duty as facilitators to create more opportunity for French businesses to come to Hong Kong and vice-versa,” said Hong Kong Partnership Chair David Lie. “I hope this discussion will be one more step in forging even more success stories on both sides.”
Nice and Grasse
Prior to the Paris Plenary, the 13-member Hong Kong delegation spent two days in Nice and Grasse, touring leading French technology and lifestyle company facilities. In Paris, the delegation attended a Hong Kong Business Luncheon, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Government. At the 20 October gathering of more than 130 business leaders and government officials, the French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Anne Marie Idrac called the Business Partnership “a very interesting initiative, which has already contributed to the creation of new business opportunities for French firms in Hong Kong and Hong Kong firms in France.”
On the morning of the Plenary, Minister Largarde, together with Minister Idrac, hosted a breakfast meeting for Hong Kong Partnership members and the Financial Secretary. Members outlined their plans for the Partnership, and the Financial Secretary discussed business prospects with the ministers.
The Hong Kong-France Business Partnership was established in 2005 to promote trade, investment and business cooperation between French and Hong Kong companies. The HKTDC and Ubifrance, the French trade promotion body, are ex-officio members and provide secretarial support to the Partnership.
Please contact the HKTDC's Corporate Communication Department:
Victor George Paddy
Tel: (852) 2584 4517
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