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Gala dinner held in Sydney to celebrate HKSAR's 20th anniversary

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO) hosted a gala dinner yesterday (July 25) in Sydney to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

About 300 guests from various sectors including political and business circles, academia and community groups as well as government representatives attended the dinner. Among them were the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Julie Bishop; the Shadow Treasurer, Mr Chris Bowen; the Premier of New South Wales, Ms Gladys Berejiklian; and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales, Mr Michael Daley. The Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Mr Cheng Jingye, and the Chinese Consul General in Sydney, Mr Gu Xiaojie, also attended the event.

Speaking to the guests, the Director of the HKETO, Mr Arthur Au, said that in the past 20 years the principle of "one country, two systems" had been successfully implemented and provided the foundation of Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

"As the world's most competitive economy, Hong Kong is now home to nearly 8,000 overseas and Mainland Chinese companies," Mr Au said.

"Economic initiatives like Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Bond Connect have further strengthened Hong Kong's position as China's international financial centre and the world's leading financial capital in Asia."

Mr Au added, "We are set to take on more active roles in our economy, both as a facilitator and a promoter. Apart from reinforcing our traditional industries, we will promote the development of new industries such as innovation and technology and creative industries."

He said the Government will continue to push ahead with various strategic infrastructure projects including a third runway at the Hong Kong International Airport and an express rail line connecting Hong Kong to the Mainland's high-speed rail network.

"With these infrastructure projects and our world-class financial, professional and commercial services, Hong Kong is set to play a pivotal role in China's Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area," he said.

Hong Kong is Australia's fifth largest source of foreign investment, sixth largest market for goods exports and seventh largest market for services exports. Mr Au said Hong Kong and Australia recently launched free trade agreement negotiations and the agreement, once in place, would further strengthen such economic links and create more opportunities for Australian companies in Asia through Hong Kong.

He added, "Like those doing business on both sides, we look forward to the early commencement of the negotiations of a comprehensive avoidance of double taxation agreement between Hong Kong and Australia."

The links between Hong Kong and Australia go beyond business. Hong Kong is home to about 100,000 Australians. Work aside, they enjoy a wide selection of sports, arts and cultural events in the city, such as the Hong Kong Sevens.

"Hong Kong's cultural scene is set to attract more world-class performances and art displays when the new West Kowloon Cultural District prepares to open in phases in the coming years," Mr Au said.

The gala dinner was part of a series of celebration events in Australia to mark the HKSAR's 20th anniversary. To showcase Hong Kong's unique culture and traditions, the guests were served Hong Kong-style cuisine, followed by Cantonese opera performed by talented youths who travelled all the way from Hong Kong.

Apart from yesterday's gala dinner, the HKETO hosted a reception in Auckland, New Zealand, last Friday (July 21) to celebrate the HKSAR's 20th anniversary. The Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand, Mr Wang Lutong; New Zealand's Minister of Revenue, Minister of Energy and Resources and Minister for Ethnic Communities, Ms Judith Collins; and the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Mr David Carter, attended the reception.


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