Datuk Seri Dr Wee [Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department,
Malaysia], Mr Vincent Lo [Chairman, HKTDC], distinguished
guests, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region, may I extend our warmest welcome to all of
you for joining “In Style • Hong Kong
”, the signature mega
promotion event organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development
Council (“HKTDC”). I am very honoured to have the privilege to
join you today and witness the opening of this two-day business to
business trade exposition which will showcase a wide range of
quality branded and designer-led lifestyle products from Hong Kong
enterprises to our Malaysian friends, as well as friends from
- This is the third time the HKTDC organized “In Style •
Hong Kong”. The previous ones were respectively held in Jakarta
and Bangkok in 2015 and 2016. I also participated in the last two “In
Style • Hong Kong” and witnessed personally that the events have
cultivated stronger links between Hong Kong and the two countries.
Indeed, this event enables us to present Hong Kong’s branded and
design-led products and our top quality services, which together
have made Hong Kong a trendsetting city in the region. I am
confident that this year’s “In Style • Hong Kong” will foster an even
closer and stronger link between Malaysia and Hong Kong.
- In addition to her other strength and attractions, Malaysia is
one of the powerhouses propelling the economic growth of
Southeast Asia. According to the World Bank, Malaysia’s GDP
growth rate is predicted to rise to 4.9% for 2017, surpassing the
current projection range of 4.3 to 4.8%.
- Malaysia was Hong Kong’s 10th largest trading partner in
2016. Bilateral goods trade amounted to over US$13.4 billion. We
are also a major source of investment for each other. In 2016,
Malaysia was the 14th largest source of inward direct investment into
Hong Kong, and ranked 10th as the major destination of Hong
Kong’s outward direct investment. I should add that the
Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreement between Malaysia and
Hong Kong has been in place since 2012, and has been working
- On the tourism front, over 500,000 friends from Malaysia
visited Hong Kong last year; whilst places including Kuala Lumpur,
Penang and Kota Kinabalu are among the favourite vacation
destinations for many Hong Kong people.
- Building on the flourishing relation between Malaysia and
Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-ASEAN (that is the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations) Free Trade Agreement (“FTA”) and
related Investment Agreement will be signed very soon. We are
grateful to all the members of ASEAN, including Malaysia, for your
contribution in attaining our shared goal. Not only will the FTA
provide an appropriate platform to further enhance the flows of trade
and investment between Hong Kong and ASEAN, it will further
strengthen Hong Kong’s role as the “facilitator” facilitating
Mainland businesses to go global and overseas enterprises to enter
the mega Mainland market. Together with the Mainland-Hong Kong
Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (“CEPA”), which is our
free-trade arrangement with Mainland China, the FTA will provide
better access for ASEAN companies, including Malaysian
companies, to the Mainland market, as well as to the opportunities
made possible by the Belt and Road Initiative.
- Hong Kong attaches great importance in developing
stronger ties with ASEAN as a whole and also with each of its
members, as we believe it is in our mutual interests to do so.
ASEAN is currently Hong Kong’s second largest merchandise
trading partner and the fourth largest services trading partner. The
value of trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN has grown by 72
per cent over the past 10 years, reaching US$107 billion in 2016.
- To consolidate our ties with ASEAN, we set up a new
Economic and Trade Office (“ETO”) in Jakarta last year to
supplement the one in Singapore. The Jakarta ETO, together with
the HKTDC office in Kuala Lumpur and the Hong Kong Malaysia
Business Association, stand ready to assist you to make use of Hong
Kong’s premier financial services, our international legal and
dispute resolution services, as well as many other different types of
top-quality and high value-added professional services. With the
signing of the FTA, we will be stepping up our efforts in seeking
market opportunities for Hong Kong businesses in ASEAN,
including Malaysia, and likewise will welcome more Malaysian
enterprises to invest in Hong Kong and to enter into the Mainland
market through Hong Kong.
- I have alluded to the Belt and Road Initiative earlier. It is a
visionary initiative that will generate a lot of opportunities. Malaysia
definitely has an important role to play in the Belt and Road
Initiative. The reason is obvious: Malaysia is situated at the centre of
Southeast Asia and along the Straits of Malacca, which is one of the
busiest shipping routes in the world.
- As highlighted in a joint press statement on the Malaysian
Prime Minister’s visit to China from 31 October to 5 November
2016 issued by the Chinese and Malaysian governments, both sides
agreed that Malaysia-China bilateral relations is currently at its
highest level and will continue to be strengthened through regular
communications and exchanges between the two sides. As a matter
of fact, Malaysia has also been China’s largest trading partner
among ASEAN countries since 2008.
- The infrastructure projects jointly invested by China and
Malaysia cover areas including port, railway, industrial park and
ecommerce, including the cooperation between the Malaysia Digital
Economy Corporation and Alibaba Group on the Digital Free Trade
Zone in Kuala Lumpur. Among these investment projects, Hong
Kong will make full use of our edges to provide what the Belt and
Road Initiative needs, including our open market with free flows of
capital, information and people, clean and efficient government, and
low and simple tax system. To make Hong Kong’s business
environment even more attractive, we will be introducing a twotiered profits tax rate regime to reduce tax burden on enterprises, and
provide additional tax deduction for expenditures on research and
- Speaking of Hong Kong’s role, as a major economic
partner for many South East Asian nations, Hong Kong has an
important role to play in terms of financial platforms, transport
logistics hubs, trade logistics centres, and professional services
platforms. Indeed, the Central People’s Government is actively
supporting Hong Kong in performing her role in the context of the
Belt and Road Initiative.
- Under the “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong
enjoys the benefit of being a special administrative region of China
and at the same time maintains key systems (including the financial
and legal systems) separate and distinct from the rest of China.
Apart from being ranked the world’s freest economy for 23
consecutive years by the Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong also
came first in terms of overall economic freedom in the annual report
released by the Fraser Institute for the years 2016 and 2017.
- Our utmost respect for the rule of law, including judicial
independence, is one of the key factors which explains why Hong
Kong remains attractive to the international business community.
According to the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the
World Economic Forum, Hong Kong came first among the Asian
economies in terms of judicial independence.
- Another key characteristics of Hong Kong is our extensive
pool of professionals covering many different disciplines and from
different backgrounds. Examples include legal, dispute resolution
(including international arbitration and commercial mediation),
accounting, engineering, architecture, management and consulting.
These professionals possess the expertise to lead consultancies,
construction projects, operations and management of infrastructure
projects whether under the Belt and Road Initiative or otherwise. In
this regard, I am glad to say that a delegation comprising some 30
delegates from the Hong Kong’s legal and arbitral bodies has joined
me to participate in the Symposium today.
- Ladies and gentlemen, I start off by saying that we come
here to present our products and services. That of course is true. But
more importantly, we come here to build a stronger friendship with
the people of Malaysia and to demonstrate that there is plenty of
room for collaboration, co-operation and partnership in the context
of trade and commerce, professional services and beyond.
- On this note, it remains for me to express my utmost
gratitude to HKTDC again for organizing this event. My sincere
gratitude also goes to other participant partners for their unfailing
support in enhancing the bilateral relation between Hong Kong and
Malaysia. May I wish this year’s “In Style • Hong Kong” another
great success, and wish you all a fruitful day.