HK Chief Executive Attends Team Canada Luncheon

Tung Chee Hwa, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Saturday attended a Team Canada Luncheon co-hosted by the visiting Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Tung extended a warm welcome to the Canadian prime minister and all the members of Team Canada and wishes their visit to Hong Kong equally successful as their visit to the Chinese mainland.

Tung said there is probably no other country, like Canada, with which Hong Kong shares such close bonds of friendship and relationship.

With some 150,000 people and over 700 companies, the Canadians form one of the largest expatriate communities in Hong Kong, he said, adding that in turn, half a million Hong Kong people have chosen Canada as their home over the years.

"Canada and Hong Kong is separated by the Pacific Ocean, but the bridge built of friendship and human relationship brings us together and it is growing stronger through mutual visits like the visit today by Team Canada, business cooperation and cultural and social exchanges," he noted.

Tung hoped the visit by Team Canada to Hong Kong would give them an opportunity to see that the concept of "one country, two systems" has been transformed into an everyday reality, after Hong Kong's return to China, with the strong support of the central government.

"Hong Kong remains as a vibrant international financial, business and trade center," he said, "The foundations upon which our success have been built -- the rule of law, a level playing field for business, clean and transparent government, and the whole range of freedoms which Hong Kong people are so used to and cherish, remain firmly intact and protected by the Basic Law."

Tung expressed the hope that his visit to Canada last year and the Canadian prime minister's visit to Hong Kong will help them to take a fresh look at each other.

Many Canadian companies are at the forefront of technologies and services, while Hong Kong is an international business center and gateway to the Chinese mainland, he said.

"Our strengths complement each other and there is great potential for our companies to cooperate, create new business opportunities and bring greater prosperity to both of us," he added.

Jean Chretien, prime minister of Canada, said business is the backbone of the relationship between Canada and Hong Kong, but it is far from the whole story, and the strong commercial ties are based on close people-to-people links that go back to more than a century.

Hong Kong is the most dynamic and open business and financial center in Asia, where business can operate in full confidence of sound institutions and transparent regulatory systems based on the rule of law, he said.

It remains a valued partner in the WTO, APEC and elsewhere, he added.

Chretien noted that a new Hong Kong is on the rise, and the new Hong Kong has a lot to offer, especially to small and medium-sized business.

He hoped that Team Canada 2001 will open the eyes to the new Hong Kong and the important role that it can play as a springboard for Canadian business success in the Chinese mainland and the rest of Asia.

"Relations will grow even closer when China joins the WTO," he said. "Hong Kong is in an ideal position to take full advantage of many new opportunities that will come with the transition."

"Canada and Hong Kong are an ideal fit as partners. We need to redouble our efforts to take full advantage of our combined strengths," he added.

People's Daily Online ---