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SCMA speaks on the establishment of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan

     Following is the transcript of the remarks of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, on the establishment of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan at the Central Government Offices today (July 4):

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I am very happy to announce today that we have reached agreement with the Taiwan side after discussions lasting about 10 months, that later this year Hong Kong will establish the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei.

     This is the formal setting up of a multi-functional office in Taiwan. Its establishment and its functions will be similar to the Economic and Trade Offices that we have in the Mainland, namely its functions will include areas like trade co-operation, investment promotion and cultural liaison. It will also deal with, on suitable occasions, applications by Taiwanese residents to enter Hong Kong. We will also render assistance where possible, to Hong Kong residents in Taiwan.

     It is very important that we continue to promote links between Hong Kong and Taiwan and therefore later in the year, we will be approaching the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for funds to have this office formally established in Taiwan.

     We warmly welcome the elevation in co-operation between both sides in a spirit of mutual co-operation. We have also agreed that the Chung Hwa Travel Service, with effect from July 15, will rename its business in Hong Kong to "Taipei Economic and Cultural Office". We believe that it is an important advancement in Hong Kong-Taiwan relations.

     We very much look forward to continuing such co-operation between the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council with our counterparts in Taiwan, the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council. We will be having bi-lateral meetings later this year in August. This is a follow-on from the first bi-lateral meetings which we had in August/early September last year.

Reporter: Your latest announcement that you are now going to allow two months for consultation over the by-election issue. Is it a rather embarrassing time for the Government?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I think we are acting on this agenda very positively. We have listened very closely to the views of the Bills Committee members. They have also solicited views from among their constituencies. They have suggested that we should provide more time for their latest proposals to be considered and we have taken on board this suggestion. At the same time, we will also issue a public consultation document to enable the public to give us a further round of views. However, we are dealing with this issue on the basis of the bill which we have already placed before the Legislative Council. So this is a continuation of the legislative work. We believe that this is a positive and proactive deed.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, July 4, 2011

Establishment of Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan