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Visiting India to expand economic co-operation outside Hong Kong

India's rapid economic growth has boosted the trade between Hong Kong and India. In 2014, trade in goods between the two places increased by 12 per cent.

India is less affected by global economic fluctuations, and its demand for services has been increasing in recent years. The services sector in Hong Kong accounts for more than 90 per cent of our economy. The 40-strong delegation joining my visit to India comprises top business leaders from the services sector, including trade, finance, maritime and aviation, transport and professional services. This shows we all attach great significance to India's potential. The delegates include Mrs Laura Cha (Chairman, Financial Services Development Council), Mr John Levack (Vice Chairman, Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association), Mr John Lee (Managing Director, Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) Limited), Mr Peter Lo (Chief Country Officer, Hong Kong, Deutsche Bank), Mr Yue Yi (Vice Chairman and Chief Executive, Bank of China (Hong Kong)), Mr Liu Anlin (Deputy Chairman and President, China Life Insurance (Overseas) Company Limited), Mr Chen Aiping (Chairman and Executive Director, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited), Mr Zhu Qi (Chief Executive Officer, Wing Lung Bank Limited), Mr Joseph Phi (Chairman, GS1 Hong Kong Limited), Mr Willy Lin (Chairman, The Hong Kong Shippers' Council), Mr Andy Tsoi (Managing Director, Middle East & Africa, Hutchison Port Holdings Limited), Mr David Kuk (Corporate Director, DCH Logistics Company Limited), Mr James Thompson (Chairman, Crown Worldwide Holdings Limited), Mr Mark Whitehead (Chief Executive, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited), Mr Richard Kendall Lancaster (Chief Executive Officer, CLP Holdings Limited), Ms Meng Shusen (Executive Vice President, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited), Mr John Slosar (Chairman, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited), Mr Wang Zhengang (President, China National Aviation Corporation (Group) Limited), Mr Lawrence Ma (Chief Executive Officer, Lee Heng Diamond Group), Dr Liu Jun (Vice Chairman, China Everbright Holdings Company Limited), Mr Zhou Jie (Executive Director and President, Shanghai Industrial Investment (Holdings) Company Limited), Mr Pang Yiu-kai (Chairman, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce), Mr Eric Yim (Deputy Chairman, Federation of Hong Kong Industries), Ir Dr Wong Kwok-keung (Vice Chairman, The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce), Mr M. Arunachalam (Chairman, Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong) and Mr Raj Sital (Immediate Past Chairman, Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong).

As regards professional services, we have lawyers, accountants, consultant engineers, architects and surveyors as delegates. They are Ir Ian Chung (Chairman, Association of Consulting Engineers of Hong Kong), Mr Nicholas Ho (Deputy Director, Ho & Partners Architects Engineers & Development Consultants Limited), Mr Thomas Ho (Chief Executive, Gammon Construction Limited), Mr Lincoln Leong (Chief Executive Officer, MTR Corporation Limited), Ir Dr Otto Poon (Chairman, Analogue Holdings Limited), Mr David Stanford (Principal Director, Leigh & Orange Limited), Mr James Law (Chairman, CEO and Chief Cybertect, James Law Cybertecture International Holdings Limited), Mr Nicholas Brooke (Chairman, Professional Property Services Limited), Ms Teresa Cheng (Chairperson, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre), Mr Dennis Ho (Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers), Ms Ivy Cheung (President, Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants), Mr Thomas So (Vice President, Law Society of Hong Kong), Mr Lau Ping-cheung (Chairman, Hong Kong Coalition of Professional Services) and Ms Elaine Lo (Asia Chair and Senior Partner, Mayer Brown JSM).

Hong Kong's professional services have grown fast, contributing more than 5 per cent of our gross domestic product. During the Mumbai tour, I visited a landmark office building designed and constructed by Mr James Law, a Hong Kong architect, for a developer there. Mr Law said that his company had 12 projects in India. Hong Kong people should feel proud of Mr Law's achievement given the highly competitive international market.

I support Hong Kong professional services and other industries to seek opportunities outside Hong Kong. Without Mainland and overseas markets, there will only be limited opportunities for our young people to move up the social ladder. This year, our university graduates are facing more challenges in finding jobs. Therefore, I proposed in this year's Policy Address to allocate $200 million to support the professional services sector in launching publicity programmes, exchanges and co-operation with Belt and Road countries and other places outside Hong Kong (including the Mainland of China). I hope that with government support and assistance, businesses will continue to expand in the Mainland and overseas.

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February 4, 2016