Hong Kong and Canada cozy up with deeper ties
Gloria Lo, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Toronto, said that Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will continue to build closer ties with Canada in all aspects in the Year of the Horse.
Lo made the comment at a spring reception joined by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) for the local media and business professionals in Toronto on Tuesday.
Lo noted that Hong Kong continues to play the role of a major regional trading hub for high-volume Canadian exporters seeking to access other key markets in Asia. “Hong Kong (SAR) became the sixth-largest export market of Canada last year and was named one of the priority markets in the Global Markets Action Plan by the Canadian Federal Government a few months ago,” Lo said.
In 2013, Canada’s merchandise exports to Hong Kong totalled C$4.9 billion, up 99 percent from 2012. This makes Hong Kong, Canada’s sixthlargest merchandise export market, larger than Germany, France, South Korea, Brazil, India, Australia or Russia, and marks an historical high in Canada’s trade relationship with Hong Kong.
The comprehensive double taxation avoidance agreement signed between Hong Kong and Canada was also ratified last year. “The agreement will provide further incentives to promote business and investment between the two places,” she added.
Lo also took the opportunity to introduce major upcoming events in Toronto under the theme of Hong Kong under the Spotlight. The Hong KongCanada Crosscurrents Project will be launched by the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library of the University of Toronto with the support of the HKETO on Feb 27.
It is a joint academic research project by the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the Simon Fraser University and the University of Hong Kong to document the immigration and people exchanges between Hong Kong and Canada over the past 50 years and their contribution to social and economic development in both places.
In addition, the presentation ceremony of the first ever Hong Kong-Canada Business Achievement Award, co-presented by the HKETO and the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association, will be held on April 29 to showcase the success stories of outstanding Canadian enterprises doing business in Hong Kong.
In conjunction with the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, the HKETO will organize the Hong Kong Spirit Film Gala on May 16 and 17 to highlight and share with local Canadians the spirit and values of Hong Kong through the appreciation of a number of selected Hong Kong films.
Michael Lim, director of Canada, Central and South America of the HKTB, commented that Hong Kong has continued to be one of the most popular destinations in Asia for Canadian travellers. He noted that there will be plenty happening in the Year of the Horse. The HKTB has enhanced its calendar of events and festivals, which includes the new Gran Fondo cycling race to be held in October.
“Recently launched are our new Explore Hong Kong Tours,” Lim said. “The newly designed tours include tasting of local delicacies on the Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour or visiting the workshops of craftspeople on the Hand Made in Hong Kong Tour. The Tai O Eco Tour shows the old-world natural charm of Lantau Island for outdoors lovers, and there is even a cycling tour that will extend your trip into Guangdong province. There is no shortage of things to do in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has a multitude of fantastic experiences.”
Lim also pointed out that Discover Hong Kong Travel Pack is an interactive app for tablet and smartphone users. “This convenient app is comprised of e-guidebooks on food, walking tours, shopping, cultural activities and more. Remember to download it before you depart,” he said.
According to the Fraser Institute, Hong Kong remains the freest economy in the world. It is also regarded as the best place for business and the second easiest place to do business, according to Bloomberg and the World Bank respectively. Hilda Chow contributed to this story.
Gloria Lo, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto.