CS in Berlin for bilateral meetings
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, held talks with German officials in Berlin today (October 27, Berlin time) to update them on Hong Kong's recent economic and political developments.
On the third day of his nine-day trip to Europe, Mr Tsang met with the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Jurgen Chrobog; the State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour, Dr Alfred Tacke; and the Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group, Dr Wolfgang Schaeuble.
"The main purpose of my trip is to update Europeans on Hong Kong's rapid economic recovery after SARS, and how initiatives like CEPA and the Mainland's Individual Visit Scheme have contributed to the rebound," the Chief Secretary said.
"I am telling them how CEPA offers advantages to foreign investors seeking access to the Mainland market. In business, time is money, and CEPA can give them a step up on their competitors."
Mr Tsang also briefed the officials on the progress of "One Country, Two Systems" since 1997. "Hong Kong is contributing to our nation's economic development, while at the same time we continue to cherish the values that have made Hong Kong successful, such as the rule of law, the free flow of information, and a level playing field for business."
The Chief Secretary also touched on the work of the Constitutional Development Task Force, which he heads, and its public consultations on ways to amend the methods for selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 and forming the Legislative Council in 2008.
He noted that both Hong Kong and Germany were eager to deepen academic exchanges, and he welcomed a suggestion that more Hong Kong students could consider studying at German universities.
Germany was Hong Kong's biggest trading partner in Europe in 2003, when bilateral trade posted impressive 19.1% growth. Trade between Hong Kong and Germany has continued to expand this year, growing 10.5% in the first eight months, year on year. Hong Kong is home to some 3,000 German nationals and over 500 German companies.
The Chief Secretary later spoke at a gala dinner that featured a performance by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra Ensemble.
Tomorrow (October 28, Berlin time), Mr Tsang will continue his meetings in Berlin and give the keynote speech at a business luncheon before travelling to Prague for the next leg of his European trip.
Ends/Thursday, October 28, 2004