Hong Kong e-News - 7 February 2006

HK's new Special Representative to the EU appointed

Mr Duncan Pescod has been appointed the Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Communities in Brussels. He succeeds Mr Andrew Wong, who has been appointed Permanent Secretary for the Civil Service after an interim period as Permanent Secretary of the Chief Executive's Office.

Aged 46, Mr Pescod joined the Hong Kong Government's Administrative Service in August 1981. Mr Pescod has served in the former Home Affairs Branch, the former Security Branch, the Lands Department, the former Urban Services Department and the former City and New Territories Administration. He was Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service from December 1996 to June 2001, and Deputy Commissioner for Tourism from June 2001 to November 2004. He has been the Head of the Efficiency Unit since November 2004.

Pending the arrival of Mr Pescod next month, Deputy Representative Ms Shirley Lam will continue to act as Special Representative and head of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels.

Among the other senior postings announced by the Government, Mr Edward Yau, currently Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower, will take up the post of Director of Information Services. Aged 45, Mr Yau joined the Administrative Service in August 1981. He has served in many government departments and was Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Washington from May 2001 to April 2004.

HKETO hosts Year of the Dog celebrations around Europe

Hong Kong's economy thrived in the Year of the Rooster and the year ahead looks equally promising, acting Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Communities, Ms Shirley Lam, told guests at celebrations to usher in the Year of the Dog.

Ms Lam is touring Europe to address guests at Chinese New Year events organised or co-organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Brussels in 15 cities. So far these celebrations have taken place in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Paris, The Hague and Stockholm, with Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Milan, Rome and Vienna to follow.

Ms Lam said that the general sentiment in Hong Kong, which had just successfully organised the World Trade Organization's Sixth Ministerial Conference, was upbeat. The latest figures showed the economy was likely to achieve a GDP growth of 7% for 2005, exceeding earlier forecasts. Exports of goods and services continued to surge, employment incomes to improve and consumer spending to accelerate. Unemployment had fallen to a four-year low of 5.3%.

Investment figures show Hong Kong remains the preferred gateway to the Mainland of China and the Pearl River Delta. Ms Lam said the number of foreign companies setting up regional headquarters and regional offices achieved an all-time high in 2005. This suggests that Hong Kong's fundamental advantages, such as the rule of law, free flow of information, low tax regime, free port with no barriers to trade, low level of government intervention and stringent protection of intellectual property rights remain major attractions for foreign companies. The Heritage Foundation underlined these strengths when it ranked Hong Kong as the World's Freest Economy for the 12th consecutive year.

Ms Lam added that the tourist boom looks set to continue. A record number of 23 million people visited Hong Kong in 2005, an increase of 7%. Arrivals from Europe alone were up by 22%. The opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland last September and the opening of the AsiaWorld-Expo last December would be an additional magnet for visitors in the year ahead.

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Source :
HKETO Brussels