San Francisco ETO celebrates Chinese New Year in Dallas
Following the spring receptions in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco hosted another reception to celebrate the Chinese New year in Dallas, Texas on February 7, 2012.
In his welcome remarks, Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco, Mr. Jeff Leung said that Hong Kong and Texas have substantial economic ties. Texas is the third largest exporters to Hong Kong. “For the first nine months of 2011, more than US$1.14 billion of merchandise was exported from Texas to Hong Kong, an increase of almost 4% when compared year-on-year,” he said.
Mr. Leung also touched on the booming wine business in Hong Kong. “For the first eleven months of 2011, total wine imports into Hong Kong stood at US$1.1 billion. We are delighted to see that our partnership with U.S. in wine promotion has strengthened. U.S. is now our third largest source of wine imports into Hong Kong. Wine imports from U.S. amounted to US$69 million by value for the first eleven months of 2011. This represents a growth of 65% as compared with the same period last year.
“We also saw a strong performance in our tourism industry. For the first time, the number of tourists exceeded 40 million and almost hit 42 million last year. It represents an increase of 16% from the year 2010. We saw a substantial increase of travelers from the United States,” he said.
He said that Hong Kong’s achievements bear testimony to the successful implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in Hong Kong since the city became part of the People’s Republic of China in 1997. This principle guarantees Hong Kong’s adherence to the free market principles and the rule of law, which enabled the city to preserve its business-friendly environment and continue to prosper.
Also addressing the guests was the Hong Kong Commissioner for Economic and Trade Affairs, USA, Mr. Donald Tong. He said, “this year marks a significant milestone for Hong Kong, as we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”
Mr. Tong further commented that despite lingering uncertainty in the global economy, Hong Kong’s economy grew by 5% in real terms last year. “Our jobless rate has edged down to 3.3 percent. Taking into account the uncertainties of the economies of our major trading partners, our Financial Secretary forecast a GDP growth of 1 percent to 3 percent in real terms for 2012.
“The strengths and resilience of our economy has widely been recognized. Last December, Hong Kong was also ranked top in the World Economic Forum’s 2011 “Financial Development Report” – the first time an Asian financial center received such an honor,” he said.
Another piece of exciting news is Hong Kong’s development as an offshore Renminbi (RMB) business center.
“Last year, there were 116 RMB bond issuances with a total value of US$29 billion (RMB 180 billion); about five times the value of such issuances in 2010. RMB deposits in Hong Kong nearly doubled in 2011 to nearly US$100 billion. Total RMB trade settlement handled by banks in Hong Kong exceeded US$300 billion (RMB 1,900) last year, amounting to almost 90 percent of RMB trade settlement globally,” he said.
On Hong Kong and U.S. trade ties, Mr. Tong said that the U.S. exported over US$26 billion worth of goods to Hong Kong in 2010 – making Hong Kong the 12th largest export destination for the U.S. American exports to Hong Kong grew even faster in 2011, exceeding US$33 billion in the first 11 months, he concluded.