10 June 2009
Hong Kong, EU Business Leaders Meet in Stockholm
Environment, China Opportunities Dominate 10th Plenary Session
10 June 2009 – Despite continuing economic difficulties worldwide, Hong Kong and the European Union see significant opportunities for business cooperation, particularly on the Chinese mainland, according to Michael Treschow, speaking during the 10th Plenary Session of the Hong Kong and European Business Co-operation Committees held on 9 June 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden.
"The Chinese mainland's huge stimulus package, valued at 423 billion euros, should offer excellent opportunities for companies in Europe," said Mr Treschow, Chairman of the EU committee and Ericsson.
"The Hong Kong and European Business Co-operation Committees have played a valuable role in promoting our bilateral relations," said Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang, speaking as guest of honour at the Plenary Session.
Mr Tsang told the Plenary's mix of senior business leaders and government officials from Hong Kong and the EU that Hong Kong offered Europe "huge opportunities for cooperation in developing a green economy. Our goal is to establish a clean and healthy environment in Hong Kong and be an example for the rest of the Pearl River Delta Region (PRD)."
Cross-boundary collaboration on the environment is supported by a new framework, announced by the Central Government in January, to establish the PRD as one of the most competitive regions in the world by 2020.
Environmental opportunities and brand-building dominated the Plenary discussion and was central to a programme of company visits arranged for the Hong Kong committee members the day before. "We were privileged to visit industry and business models for the world, in tours of Ericsson, Electrolux, the famous Swedish eco-town Hammarby Sjöstad and global design firm Ergonomidesign," said Raymond Ch'ien, Chairman of the Hong Kong committee and the MTR Corporation Ltd. "In environmental issues and opportunities, Hong Kong, and all of China, has much to learn from Sweden – and from Europe in general," said Mr Ch'ien. He added, "MTR Corporation is a fan of Sweden, so much so that we will assume responsibility for operating the Stockholm subway system later this year."
Hong Kong, and China in general, also have much to offer, said Hong Kong Trade Development Council Executive Director Fred Lam, noting that, while the financial crisis has led to factory closings on the mainland, the bigger companies there are now moving up the value chain. "They're investing more in R&D and in environmental technologies. This should offer excellent opportunities for technology companies in Europe to find willing customers."
Plenary guest speakers were Lars Goran Johansson, Senior Vice President, Communications and Branding, for Electrolux, and Thomas Davidsson, CEO of Scandinavian Biogas Fuels. Andreas Carlgren, Swedish Minister for the Environment, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon that followed the Plenary Session.
Some 100 local business leaders, government officials and VIPs attended the Plenary's Welcome Dinner, 8 June, including: Her Royal Highness Princess of Sweden; Member of the European Parliament Lena Ek; Swedish Vice Mayor of the City of Stockholm Ulla Hamilton; and Ambassador, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Sweden Mingming Chen.
Over the past five years, bilateral trade with the EU has grown at an average annual rate of nearly eight per cent. In 2008, total trade amounted to nearly 57 billion euros, up 8.2 per cent year-on-year. About 12 per cent of total trade between the EU and the Chinese mainland is routed through Hong Kong.
The annual bilateral gathering, organised by the HKTDC, works to enhance business opportunities between European and Hong Kong-based companies. The 11th Plenary Session will take place next year in Hong Kong.
Please contact the HKTDC's Corporate Communication Department:
Victor George Paddy
Tel: (852) 2584 4517
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