Hong Kong-U.S. trade still flourishing

2024-03-08 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

In a testament to their enduring partnership, Hong Kong and the U.S. have forged a "robust" trade relationship over the past year, according to Jacko Tsang, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco (HKETO SF).

Tsang spoke at her office's celebration of the Year of the Dragon in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) on Wednesday in Los Angeles, which attracted local officials, dignitaries, academia, business representatives and community leaders.

"Hong Kong remains a significant trade partner with the U.S.," she said.

According to Tsang, the year 2023 witnessed U.S. goods exports to Hong Kong reach an impressive $28 billion. The U.S. enjoys one of its highest trade surpluses with Hong Kong, valued at over $23 billion.

Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis, plays host to nearly 1,300 American companies, while approximately 90,000 Americans call the city home.

As the economic momentum continues, Hong Kong remains a beacon of opportunity and collaboration on the global stage.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong's recent business sentiment report revealed that 75 percent of respondents view Hong Kong as a competitive global business hub.

Factors contributing to that perception include international connectivity, a free flow of capital, a favorable tax regime, and robust legal and regulatory systems, the report found.

"Hong Kong has fully entered a post-pandemic economy. The economy continued to revive in the fourth quarter, with GDP growing by an estimated 4.3 percent. For 2023 as a whole, GDP resumed growth of 3.2 percent," Tsang said.

Hong Kong also excels in quality-of-life assessments, ranking fourth out of 191 places in the United Nations' Human Development Index, which assesses long-term progress in basic dimensions of human development.

"This favorable ranking explains why Hong Kong continues to attract top talent," Tsang said. "Initiatives like the Top Talent Pass Scheme actively bring high-income professionals and graduates from the world's top 100 universities to contribute to Hong Kong's dynamic growth.

"Looking ahead, Hong Kong is making strides to spur the city's economic development across sectors," Tsang continued.

In financial services, Hong Kong maintains its position as Asia's premier asset and wealth management center.

"With vast opportunities for private equity and venture capital investors, Hong Kong's private equity sector ranks second in Asia, behind only the Chinese mainland," Tsang said, adding that the city's total capital under management exceeds $220 billion, constituting more than 15 percent of the region's total.

Moreover, Hong Kong is deeply committed to supporting climate action, as demonstrated by its successful issuance of the world's first tokenized green bond by the government.

Building on that success, the government recently conducted a second offering, selling $750 million of two-year green bonds, further enhancing Hong Kong's status as a digital asset hub, she said.

Innovation and technology (I&T) are also thriving in Hong Kong, positioning the city as an emerging tech hub globally. The number of startups has surged to a record high of over 4,250, an increase of more than 60 percent compared to five years ago.

Furthermore, Hong Kong's investment in research and development (R&D) continues to grow, with 30 strategic enterprises poised to invest a total of more than $3.85 billion (HK$30 billion) in their operations in Hong Kong.

"This investment is expected to create about 10,000 jobs, primarily in scientific research and management roles, further solidifying Hong Kong's status as a key player in the global innovation landscape," Tsang said.

The year 2024 kicked off with the 17th Asian Financial Forum, setting the stage for a vibrant calendar of events in Hong Kong. In the months ahead, notable events include LIV Golf Hong Kong, Art Basel, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, and the finale of the electric motorsport E1 World Championship.

"These events, from leading regional and international trade fairs to world-class arts, culture and sports competitions, are poised to strengthen Hong Kong's reputation as a must-visit global city," concluded Tsang.

Michael Lim, director of HKTB Americas, provided insights into the latest developments in Hong Kong's tourism industry.

"Hong Kong, like the mythical dragon, is dynamic, culturally rich and relentlessly progressive; confident, charismatic, and resilient," said Lim. "Over the past year, we welcomed 34 million visitors, including over 590,000 Americans."

He highlighted initiatives such as Night Vibes Hong Kong, along with a diverse calendar of signature events and festivals spanning arts, sports and pop culture, aimed at offering visitors a rich and immersive experience.

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