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Hong Kong Initiates Commercial Ties with St Petersburg
High-level TDC Business Seminar Attracts More than 200 from
St Petersburg Business Community

Frederick Ma, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, addresses a seminar in St Petersburg organised by the Kong Hong Trade Development Council. Today's seminar in Russia's second-largest city highlighted Hong Kong’s role as a sourcing hub for quality products and a risk manager for Russian companies interested in doing business with the Chinese mainland
September 28, 2007 - More than 200 business executives and government officials attended the first Hong Kong business seminar in St Petersburg today, gaining new insight into the opportunities available through the Hong Kong business platform.

The seminar, "Hong Kong: Connecting you to a World of Business Opportunities," was organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC). The Hong Kong delegation was led by Frederick Ma, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, and included 15 companies from a variety of product and services areas, including technology, fur, garments and the financial and legal sectors.

Along with today's seminar, a Hong Kong press conference attracting about 40 Russian journalists took place September 27 in Saint Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city.

"We are here to explore ways to take our growing trade with Russia to the next level," Mr Ma told the packed seminar. Hong Kong's exports to Russia rose by 64 per cent, to US$461 million in the first seven months of 2007, on the heels of a 15 per cent export surge, to US$578 million, in 2006.

"The Hong Kong business platform offers many more ways to build business ties with Russian entrepreneurs, and we are here to outline these advantages," he added.

With the Russian economy growing by 7.8 per cent in the first half of this year, and the living standards of Russian households rising, Mr Ma said Hong Kong companies are keen to meet the growing needs of Russian consumers looking for quality and branded products.

Trade is up strongly between Hong Kong and Russia, said TDC Executive Director Fred Lam, adding that this was mirrored by growing numbers of Russian participants at Hong Kong trade fairs. "Total trade between our two economies was up 23 per cent in the first seven months of this year, totalling nearly US$650 million in bilateral business so far in 2007," said Mr Lam.

"It follows that rising numbers of Russians are coming to our trade events. In all, 4,000 Russian buyers visited Hong Kong trade fairs in 2006, up 40 per cent over the past three years," he said.

The conference also highlighted Hong Kong's role as a sourcing hub for quality products, and a risk manager for Russian companies interested in doing business with the Chinese mainland.

Speakers at the conference included Ronald Arculli, Chairman of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, and Victor Lo, Chairman, Board of Directors, Hong Kong Design Centre.

The Hong Kong business mission was also scheduled to meet with government officials, including Alexander Prokhorenko, Chairman of the Committee for External Relations, St Petersburg City Government, and Mikhail Osseevsky, Vice-Governor of St Petersburg, along with business counterparts in the manufacturing and retail industries.

The week of September 25 to 29 has been designated Hong Kong Week in Russia, part of the Year of China programme of events in the country.

The Hong Kong business delegation in St Petersburg arrived from Moscow, where Hong Kong's largest-ever exposition of lifestyle products was held at the Manezh Exhibition Complex, September 25 to 28. Other festivities have included performances by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in Moscow and St Petersburg.

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About the TDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With 40-plus offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the TDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The TDC 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, visit www.tdctrade.com.

Media Enquiries
Please contact the TDC's Media and Public Affairs Department:

Beatrice Lam
Tel: (852) 2584 4049
Email: beatrice.hy.lam@tdc.org.hk

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