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EU official says bloc is Hong Kong's true friend

(Xinhua)    08:42, November 29, 2019

HONG KONG, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- An official of the European Union said Thursday that the bloc is Hong Kong's true friend at a meeting here.

"True friends stand by each other at difficult times, and Hong Kong can count on the EU in this regard," said Gunnar Wiegand, the managing director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service.

Wiegand said the EU is strongly committed to Hong Kong, with 2,200 companies headquartered and an estimated 350,000 EU citizens residing here.

The remarks were made at the 13th annual Structured Dialogue meeting between the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the EU.

The two sides have built close economic ties. The EU remains Hong Kong's second largest trading partner, while Hong Kong is one of the EU's largest trading partners. Hong Kong and EU are each other's major sources of direct investment.

"Despite recent social incidents, Hong Kong's institutional strengths and core competencies remain strong and are well recognized by many international institutions," said Vivian Sum, the deputy secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the HKSAR government.

"With our unique advantages under 'one country, two systems', we have unparalleled strengths on various fronts, including the rule of law and our independent judiciary; a low and simple tax regime; the free flow of capital and world-class financial markets; excellent professional services and robust intellectual property rights protection, etc," Sum said.

Representatives of the two sides discussed various matters at the meeting, including free trade and investment agreements, cooperation on tackling human trafficking crimes, the on-going progress achieved under the EU-Hong Kong Action Plan against counterfeiting, and a mutual recognition arrangement for Authorized Economic Operators.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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