HK trade groups bridge businesses to Asia

Updated: 2013-03-06 11:16

By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)

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It was a black-tie affair where "national festive attire" was also welcomed. A martini glass of shrimp and scallop ceviche opened the evening; an edible chocolate cappuccino cup filled with chocolate mousse closed it.

It was an affair fit for celebrating an anniversary, or in this case, two: the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Association of New York, and the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, New York.

"We are happy to see Hong Kong has been more active and more influential in the international arena ever since its return to China in 1997," said Dong Xiaojun, deputy Consul General of China in New York, at the inaugural Trans-Pacific Gala Dinner on Monday night.

The event at the Yale Club in Manhattan also highlighted the "Think Asia, Think Hong Kong" business event taking place in New York in June.

Hong Kong is the 10th-largest export destination for the US and the second-largest for New York State, Dong said in his remarks.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who was the dinner's keynote speaker and who visited Hong Kong when he went to China in September 2012 to participate in a World Economic Forum summit in Tianjin, said "there's a very clear message that comes out of Hong Kong about the role it has played and wishes to play in the future when it comes to eliciting and supporting" additional trade to the Chinese mainland.

"What it offers as part of that bargain, is a legal system, which American companies are much more comfortable dealing with, a great respect for intellectual property and a camaraderie of purpose and understanding," he said in his remarks.

The Hong Kong Association of New York is a nonprofit organization that promotes networking among members, which include major corporations, professional firms, financial and academic institutions and small businesses from the US, Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, and greater Asia.

The Hong Kong special administrative region government set up the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, New York to support and strengthen economic and trade links between the Chinese city and 31 states in the eastern US.

"My office is more than happy to assist US companies that are interested in exploring the Hong Kong market or using Hong Kong as a platform for going into the mainland," said Donald Tong J. P., Hong Kong commissioner for economic and trade affairs, USA.

In response to US President Barack Obama's National Export Initiative, which aims to double US exports in five years and create 2 million American jobs, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and US Department of Commerce jointly initiated in 2011 the Pacific Bridge Initiative program.

The PBI was the first formal agreement by a trading partner in support of the NEI and seeks to help US companies access Asian markets, particularly the Chinese mainland.

"We believe Hong Kong is a great place for the US to market their products," Tong said after his speech to the roughly 180 participants. "Hong Kong is also a great place for the US to establish a commercial presence as their Asia-Pacific regional headquarter or offices."