Hong Kong and Canada cozy up with deeper ties

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICAS - By LI NA in Toronto Re­nali@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Glo­ria Lo, di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong Eco­nomic and Trade Of­fice in Toronto.

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