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Milan Hosts 12th Hong Kong-EU Business Plenary
Italian Excellence in Design, Branding Highlights Bilateral Gathering


The 12th Plenary Session took place in Milan, 17 May, with 27 members and speakers from Hong Kong and the European Union attending


Two invited speakers, Italian Fashion Chamber President Mario Boselli (third from left) and Versace Asia-Pacific CEO Giuseppe Oliveri (third from right), are joined by (from right) HKTDC Executive Director Fred Lam and Hong Kong Committee Chairman Raymond Ch’ien, along with (from left) EU member Alessandro Daneu and EU Committee Chairman Michael Treschow


Keynote speaker (second left) Roberto Formigoni, President of the Lombardy Regional Administration, at the 12th Plenary Session networking dinner, along with Dr Ch’ien (far left) as well as (from right) Mr Lam and Mr Treschow


Plenary members and guests also took the opportunity to visit such renowned Italian brands as Trussardi and Molteni&C to better understand Italian excellence in design and branding, and to explore potential cooperation with Hong Kong 

17 May 2011 – Italian excellence in design and branding and China’s 12th Five-Year Programme dominated discussions at the 12th Plenary Session of the Hong Kong and European Union Business Co-operation Committees, which took place 16 May in Milan, Italy.

Accelerating Urbanisation
Raymond Ch’ien, Chairman of the Hong Kong Committee and the MTR Corp, told EU committee members and plenary guests that the five-year plan, approved by the National People’s Congress in March, will focus on “increased private consumption and accelerating urbanisation to power China’s progress over these next five years.” That, he said, “spells opportunity for Hong Kong – and for EU companies based in Hong Kong or working with Hong Kong partners. After all, when it comes to consumer goods and trends, Hong Kong is the Chinese mainland’s window to the world.”

Italian Experience
The Plenary’s “Italian Experience” session was led by Mario Boselli, President of the Italian Fashion Chamber, and Giuseppe Oliveri, CEO of Versace Asia-Pacific. Hong Kong committee members were also updated on pressing economic issues in the EU, including the sovereign debt crisis, energy and protectionism.

Michael Treschow, Chairman of the EU/HK Committee and Unilever, noted “the strong comeback in our trade and investment relations in 2010, after the temporary downward pressures of the global economic crisis,” which he viewed as a “testament to the breadth and depth of the EU-Hong Kong economic relationship overall.” He welcomed the opportunity to discuss “what China’s 12th Five-Year Programme means not only for Hong Kong but also for Europe, especially as China moves into a more consumer-driven society and moves up the value chain.” 

At the networking dinner following the plenary, Lombardy Regional Administration President Roberto Formigoni spoke about business developments in his region. Senior representatives from Prada, Armani, the Italian Association of Foreign Trade, the Italian trade Commission and other organisations also attended the dinner, which took place at the Palazzo Cusani.

The day before the plenary, members of both committees visited Cantine Boroli, an Italian vineyard in the nearby Piedmont region. There, they toured the winery and enjoyed lunch at the winery restaurant, part of a general programme spotlighting Italian excellence.

Creative Networking
During their four-day stay in Italy, Hong Kong committee members also visited the head office of Trussardi, meeting with the Trussardi family, who still run the 100-year-old fashion brand. In addition, they visited lighting company Artemide Group, furniture maker Molteni & Co and Mario Bellini Architects, gaining firsthand insights into Italian excellence in design, branding, technology and manufacturing. Members also attended a cocktail reception and networking dinner hosted by the Italian Fashion Chamber, which represents more than 150 top Italian fashion companies, from Gucci to Salvatore Ferragamo, Missoni and Versace.  

Hong Kong-EU Trade
Total trade between Hong Kong and the EU was US$75.2 billion in 2010, up 13 per cent over the previous year. The EU is well represented in trading, finance, insurance, retailing, transportation and other sectors of the Hong Kong economy. Major companies with EU interests include the HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, Inchcape, ICI (China), Prudential Portfolio Managers, Marks & Spencer, British Airways, Commerzbank AG, Deutsche Bank, Olympia Office Machines (HK) Ltd, BASF, Henkel Asia-Pacific Ltd, Lufthansa German Airlines, Siemens, TÜV Rheinland, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, LVMH Asia Pacific Ltd, Parfums Christian Dior Far East, Air France, ABN AMRO, P&O Nedlloyd (HK) Ltd, Philips Hong Kong Ltd, Shell Hong Kong Ltd, Banco di Roma and Ericsson Ltd.

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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 

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