18 Nov 2008
Hong Kong Dinner in London Turns 25
Baroness Scotland Praises Enduring “Friendship and Partnership”
18 November 2008 - The continuing friendship and partnership between the United Kingdom and Hong Kong was celebrated by 350 business leaders and senior government officials at the Hong Kong Dinner in London this evening.
The annual event, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, was hosted by Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Chairman Jack So. Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang was Hong Kong guest of honour at the dinner. The UK guest of honour was the Attorney General the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland.
Baroness Scotland told guests that as open, globalised economies with strong financial services industries, Hong Kong and Britain have not been able to escape the impact of the biggest financial and economic crisis since the 1930s. "It is when times are tough that you most need your friends. And the continuing friendship and partnership between Hong Kong and Britain remain deep and broad-based."
She noted that UK-Hong Kong trade was worth £12 billion last year. UK exports to Hong Kong increased nearly 60 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2007. And Hong Kong is the leading business hub for UK companies in Asia.
Baroness Scotland noted that Mr Tsang had had extensive discussions with the British Prime Minister during his visit. She agreed with the Chief Executive's shared approach to addressing the current economic turmoil based on the consensus reached at last weekend's summit in Washington, in which Hong Kong played an important role. "You have much valuable experience to share, having skillfully steered Hong Kong through the Asian financial crisis 10 years ago and subsequently set about a programme of rigorous reform.
"Like us, you argued in Washington that markets should be kept open while we seek an international response to the crisis. You agree with us on the need for better global supervision and regulation. And you agree with the priority we have given to concluding the Doha trade round as soon as possible. We are pleased that by participating in key discussions such as those last weekend, and through your membership in the WTO, APEC and the Financial Stability Forum, Hong Kong is fully engaged in the process of reform needed to make the international financial architecture fit for the 21st century."
The Attorney General also highlighted the need for economies to move more rapidly away from reliance on carbon, noting that there were "huge opportunities for economic growth and job creation - if we are bold enough to seize them. Hong Kong has a reputation for its vitality, determination and forward-looking approach. These are exactly the qualities that we want the international community to emulate as we press for an ambitious global climate security deal. I hope that we can work together to make this happen."
Baroness Scotland said that she has always admired Hong Kong's dynamism, entrepreneurial spirit and ability to get the job done. "Take the Olympics for example. You hosted a fantastic Games; your organisation of the equestrian events was superb and much praised by those competing. Like Mainland China, Hong Kong has set the bar extremely high for London in 2012."
Hong Kong Dinner guests included:
Sir David Brewer, Chairman, China Britain Business Council
Mike Burgess, Chairman, The Giftware Association
Baroness Dunn, Chairman, The Hong Kong Association
Her Excellency Ambassador Madame Fu Ying, Ambassador, The People's Republic of China
Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings Plc
Susan Haird, Deputy Chief Executive, UK Trade and Investment
Rt Hon the Lord Howe of Aberavon, House of Lords
Lady Barbara Thomas Judge, Chairman, SOAS Governing Body
Henry NL Keswick, Chairman, Matheson & Co Ltd
Jiazhao Lei, Managing Director, Sinochem Europe Holding Plc
Lord Paul of Marylebone, Chairman, Caparo Group Plc
Rt Hon John Prescott, Labour Member of Parliament for Hull East
Neville Reyner, President, British Chambers of Commerce
Andrew Seaton, British Consul-General, Hong Kong
Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, Hon President, The Hong Kong Association
Ken Livingstone, Former Mayor of London
Please contact the HKTDC's Corporate Communication Department:
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About the HKTDC
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 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, www.hktdc.com