Continuing to promote the business advantages of Hong Kong's 'one country, two systems'; arrangement and the key role Hong Kong is set to play in connecting overseas economies with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) organised business events in seven European Union cities: Zagreb, in Croatia (9 February), Venice in Italy (7 March); Bucharest in Romania (14 March); Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece (14 and 15 March respectively); Sofia in Bulgaria (16 March); and Catania in Sicily, Italy (21 March).
HKETO, Brussels also took the opportunity to celebrate the Chinese New Year and the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with the participants.
In Zagreb on 9 February, Deputy Representative of HKETO, Brussels, Mr Sam Hui, briefed participants on Hong Kong's advantages as an international trading hub and the world's freest economy, at a seminar on 'How to do Business with Hong Kong';, jointly organised with the Croatian Chamber of Economy. Senior Investment Promotion Executive, Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), Ms Paula Kant, explained how participants could use Hong Kong to access the vast Mainland and Asian markets. A representative of the Croatian Chamber of Economy spoke on the current stage of economic exchanges between Hong Kong and Croatia.
In Venice on 7 March, HKETO, Brussels held a Chinese New Year Networking Event with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and InvestHK in cooperation with Veneto Promozione, the promotion organisation for the economy of the Veneto region. Assistant Representative of HKETO, Brussels, Mr Jeffrey Chim, told participants that the implementation of the avoidance of double taxation agreement between Hong Kong and Italy offers additional advantages to Italian companies wishing to operate in an ideal environment for business and use Hong Kong as a platform to access China and the Asian markets.
In Athens, HKETO, Brussels co-organised a seminar on 14 March with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and InvestHK. Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Ms Shirley Lam, explained how the combined advantages of 'one country'; and 'two systems'; made business-friendly Hong Kong the 'super-connector'; between China and the rest of the world, offering the entrepreneur benefits that no other places in the world can match. Ms Paula Kant of InvestHK pinpointed sectors in Hong Kong that would be of interest to Greek companies. Representatives of two companies, natural cosmetics firm Apivita and pharmaceutical and toiletries company Adelco, spoke about their experience of working with Hong Kong.
In Bucharest, also on 14 March, HKETO, Brussels organised the 'Hong Kong – Your Perfect Partner in Belt and Road Business'; seminar and networking reception in cooperation with the HKTDC. Mr Sam Hui of HKETO, Brussels and Director Germany and Central Europe of HKTDC, Ms Priscilla Yeung, explained to participants how Hong Kong can assist Romanian companies, particularly SMEs, helping them to start on the right footing and be successful in the vast Asian market. Mr Stefan Gabriel Vainea, head of bilateral relations office of the Romanian Foreign Affairs Department updated participants on the intensifying bilateral ties between Hong Kong and Romania.
In Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, HKETO, Brussels and InvestHK cooperated with the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece to hold an 'Information Day on Hong Kong as the Gateway to Asia'; on 15 March. Deputy Representative of HKETO, Brussels, Miss Alice Choi presented a general overview of Hong Kong's economic and business environment, while Ms Paula Kant of InvestHK explained the opportunities for Greek enterprises and their target sectors on the Hong Kong market. Giving firsthand experience of a Greek business operating in Asia were Greek companies LINK Technologies and Creta Farms.
In Sofia, HKETO, Brussels and HKTDC held a business seminar on 16 March, entitled 'Hong Kong: Your Perfect Partner in Belt and Road Business';. Speakers were Mr Sam Hui of HKETO, Brussels; Mr William Chui, the Regional Director, Europe, HKTDC; Ms Paula Kant of InvestHK and the President of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, Mr Tsvetan Simeonov. Bulgarian company Electroinvest presented its successful experience trading products in and through Hong Kong.
Finally, on March 21, HKETO, Brussels organised its first ever business event in Catania, in the Italian autonomous region of Sicily. Miss Alice Choi of HKETO, Brussels gave an update on the latest developments in Hong Kong. Other speakers included Secretary General, Catania Chamber of Commerce, Mr Alfio Pagliaro; Director, Italy, HKTDC, Mr Gianluca Mirante; InvestHK's Representative in Italy, Mr Stefano De Paoli; and a representative from Vinitaly, Sicily being a major wine producer and interested in Hong Kong's role as the wine trading hub in Asia.