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Speech: FST speech to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Dinner: 27 September 2018

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first_imgIntroductionChief Secretary, distinguished guests, Lords, ladies, gentleman, it is a pleasure to address you this evening.As a finance minister, I am often told to keep things small, not big.As the Minister responsible for taxation, I look to Hong Kong for inspiration.Because your tax code is 270 pages. Our is 17,000.So I have some lessons to learn!One Country, Two SystemsLadies and gentlemen, over twenty years ago Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher agreed the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” ……a structure designed to protect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, independent judiciary, rule of law, and rights and freedoms of its residents and others in the Special Administrative Region.And at the time, of course, it was not without its critics……many people felt a sense of trepidation about what was to come……with some prophesising a highly regulated economy or indeed, even economic decline.But the critics have been proved wrong, and Hong Kong has indeed stood the test of time.“One Country, Two Systems” has protected the success of Hong Kong……and it is vital that this continues……as part of the faithful implementation of the Joint Declaration.More than ever, Hong Kong has been characterised by strength and prosperity.Today it stands as one of the most thriving and energetic cities in the world……like London, a global financial powerhouse……and the gateway to China – one of the biggest markets in the world.And more than ever, we should perhaps reflect on Hong Kong’s legacy……and take on board the lessons of history.Because in the immortal words of Mark Twain, history doesn’t repeat itself – but it does rhyme.As the UK prepares to the leave the European Union……to face the world ……we acknowledge that we will always be a part of Europe……but we are ready to take control of our future……as a sovereign nation, as Global Britain.Just as Hong Kong challenged the naysayers all those years ago……our country has the chance to do precisely the same.The ties that bind us togetherChief Secretary, by geographic fate, the UK and Hong Kong stand as lighthouses in our regions……bordered by sea, gateways to commerce, with a shared history of entrepreneurship.But geo-politics is not the only thing that binds us…… because we both share certain special qualities.We are filled with a sense of determination, of adventure, and in our economic affairs – an unwavering commitment to cross-border trade.These are qualities that will allow the UK and Hong Kong to survive the turbulence of the 21st century……and grasp the opportunities it undoubtedly presents. And, as the UK faces a time of unprecedented change in her history, we are looking to our international partners……and especially to those with which we have deep historic ties.The enduring relationship between the UK and Hong Kong has its foundation in a shared history……but it has grown into so much more than that.Just look at the 300,000 British citizens resident in Hong Kong……to the tens of thousands of Hong Kong students who study in the UK every year……to the British Council’s Festival of Ideas next January – which will showcase the best of UK creativity and innovations.So, we have a strong base of shared values……and a legacy of exchange – be it of ideas, culture or people.But as a Treasury Minister, it is the continued strength of our economies……and the two-way flow of trade and investment upon which I want to focus on this evening.Tapping into new markets togetherOur two great economies are deeply intertwined……Hong Kong remains the UK’s second largest export market for goods in the APAC region……investment from Hong Kong into the UK has increased by 35% since 2010……and Hong Kong is home to over a third of all British investment in Asia.And as we leave the European Union, we will look to further enhance our partnership with Hong Kong.Because despite appearances, no financial centre is an island……both the UK and Hong Kong are leading global hubs……in facilitating trade and prosperity throughout Europe, Asia and beyond.And we are stronger when working together.Through the annual London-Hong Kong Financial Forum, we have committed to explore and capitalise on the issues facing our financial industries.It is only by harnessing the forces set to reshape financial markets – rather than avoiding them – that we can continue the UK and HK’s mutually beneficial relationship.Globalisation, climate change, infrastructure, technology……should be taken and acknowledged for what they are……as opportunities to seize.Take for example the untapped potential of green finance……and the role it could play in funding 21st century corporates……and facilitating infrastructure projects worldwide.In Asia – this could range from the Greater Bay Area to the trans-continental Belt and Road Initiative……and here at home, I am proud to see green finance being put to use as we build the UK’s Northern Powerhouse.Green finance has the potential to be a rapidly expanding force of financing.To meet the infrastructure needs of developing Asian economies would require $1.5 trillion in investment per year until 2030.We should all rise to the challenge as to how green finance can be targeted to plug that gap.This vision will only be attained if leading financial centres – like London and Hong Kong – work in tandem to scale-up the sector……and foster the right environment for a competitive green marketplace to emerge.Green finance of course is but one area of innovation that the UK and Hong Kong can capitalise on.At this dinner last year, the UK-Hong Kong FinTech Bridge was witnessed by the Chief Executive and the Chancellor of the Exchequer……to enhance connectivity……pool our mutual expertise……and permit our firms to access the capital, talent, accelerators and start-ups in both jurisdictions.The bridge that extends between us will apply cutting-edge technology to turbo-charge our financial industries.I am a great believer that FinTech has enormous power to transform international finance……and create a more efficient, productive and bespoke industry for corporates and consumers.So I am thrilled that the UK and Hong Kong remain at the frontier of this sector.In the months and years ahead, green finance and FinTech are but two aspects of an ambitious bilateral agenda.I welcome the Chief Executive’s support of our Strategic Dialogue on Trade Partnership……which gives us a way to identify and address any remaining barriers to trade between the UK and Hong Kong.And we are preparing for the 8th London-Hong Kong Financial Forum……working to ensure corporates and investors can access new opportunities……and delivering the innovation and thought leadership necessary to meet challenges bigger than any one financial centre.Because the joint investment opportunities are vast – just take the rise of China.It is expected that up to $600 billion in foreign funds will enter the Chinese stock market in the next 5 – 10 years……channelled through Stock Connects that are operational in Hong Kong……and soon to launch in London.Already around 60% of all Chinese capital flows through Hong Kong……often hiring UK professional services firms as intermediaries and advisers.The opportunities to fully explore the potential of investment in China ……is something we should both consider a priority in the years ahead.I know I speak on behalf of the Chancellor and the Government when I say that we are committed to exploring the synergies between Hong Kong and Global Britain……collaborating to bring us both greater prosperity and competitiveness.ConclusionSo, to conclude this evening, I want to share this quote with you:“Britain must always think and act internationally. But rather than rely on our influence within the confines of a narrow Europe I would have us fulfil our destiny as a nation with global interests and a special understanding of the world derived from our history.”That was Margaret Thatcher speaking in Asia before the handover of Hong Kong in 1997.And her words have never been more relevant.As we prepare to face the world as Global Britain, eager to embrace the opportunities this country voted to explore……we are looking beyond Europe; we are looking East.There has never been a better time to unlock the full potential of our relationship with Hong Kong, a natural ally in the East.I look forward to strengthening the bonds between us……for the years to come.Thank you all very much.last_img read more

Shearwater GeoServices Secures Two New Surveys

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first_imgGC Rieber Shipping’s 50% owned geoservices company Shearwater GeoServices has been awarded 3D surveys in the Mediterranean and South East Asia, adding seven vessel months to the current backlog. The surveys will be starting in the first half of Q4 2018. The Mediterranean survey will take approximately two months, and the South East Asia surveys will last for five months.“We are pleased to be awarded these surveys firming up the backlog over the 2018/19 winter season, after we have seen utilization of 85% and transit of 15% for the first three quarters of 2018,” said Irene Waage Basili, Shearwater CEO.The survey in the Mediterranean area covers approximately 1,300 sqkm and will utilize the Polar Empress vessel. The contract in South East Asia covers two survey areas, totaling over 8,000 sqkm, and will be conducted by the Polar Duchess vessel.Shearwater GeoServices is jointly owned by GC Rieber Shipping and RASMUSSENGRUPPEN.last_img read more

Head Girl at Iris Gelly Primary Travels Far to Achieve

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first_img Passing the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) for Immaculate Conception High School was not an easy task for Head Girl of Iris Gelly Primary School in Kingston, Ashamarc Miller.Not only did Ashamarc have to spend months studying for the examination and conditioning her brain to like the subject of Language Arts, but she also had to travel each weekday from the inner-city community of Grants Pen in North East St. Andrew to another inner-city community along Avondale Avenue in South St. Andrew for school.However, after getting her results with scores of 11/12 in Communication Task, 100 per cent in Science, 100 per cent in Social Studies, 99 per cent in Mathematics and 96 per cent in Language Arts from sitting the final GSAT examination in March, Ashamarc tells JIS News that her achievement was worth the struggle.“I am very excited because it [Immaculate Conception High School] is the school that I wanted to pass for,” 12 year-old Ashamarc says.She tells JIS News that the school is not only among the top-performing secondary-level institutions in the Corporate Area but it is close to her home.“I am looking forward to getting good grades [at Immaculate Conception] and to achieve all that I want, such as becoming a prefect, head girl and first in every subject in every class,” she says.When asked what the journey to prepare for GSAT was like, she notes that it was not an easy one. However, her parents, Mark and Alethia Miller; her teacher; her principal and her friends stood with her through it all.“I would go home early and I would study with my mother or my father, and when I’m at school, I would study with my best friends. My teacher would give us GSAT past paper questions to practise on,” she adds.Mrs. Miller tells JIS News that she is extremely pleased with her daughter’s performance. “I feel very good, very proud of her. I saw to it that she studied, sent her to the Internet café, made sure she got enough rest and went to extra lessons, went to the school GSAT camps and encouraged her,” she says.Principal of Iris Gelly Primary, Mrs. Veronica Gaynor, was equally excited about Ashamarc’s achievement. She also applauded her parents and siblings for assisting Ashamarc with passing for Immaculate Conception High School.“Ashamarc has been an achiever from grade one, so it’s not surprising that she attained what she did. Her older sister or her mother takes her to school every day on the bus and they pick her up back and take her home. They travel far. They don’t drive. They take the bus,” Mrs. Gaynor tells JIS News.Ashamarc’s major goal is to become a surgeon. “I want to become a surgeon, because it’s all about science and science is my favourite subject,” she says. However, after getting her results with scores of 11/12 in Communication Task, 100 per cent in Science, 100 per cent in Social Studies, 99 per cent in Mathematics and 96 per cent in Language Arts from sitting the final GSAT examination in March, Ashamarc tells JIS News that her achievement was worth the struggle. Not only did Ashamarc have to spend months studying for the examination and conditioning her brain to like the subject of Language Arts, but she also had to travel each weekday from the inner-city community of Grants Pen in North East St. Andrew to another inner-city community along Avondale Avenue in South St. Andrew for school. Passing the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) for Immaculate Conception High School was not an easy task for Head Girl of Iris Gelly Primary School in Kingston, Ashamarc Miller. Story Highlightslast_img read more

Cgarh Two die after drinking illicit countrymade liquor

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first_imgKorba: Two persons died after consuming illicit country-made liquor in Korba district of Chhattisgarh, police said on Wednesday. The incident occurred on Tuesday night in Dharampur locality under Kusmunda police station area, said Rajesh Mishra, Station House Officer (SHO). As per preliminary information, Santram (28) and Suresh Kurre (26) had purchased the liquor, which was made from Mahua flowers, on Tuesday evening, he said, adding that the liquor was sold illegally in the locality. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The duo, both residents of Dharampur area, were found lying unconscious at a ground in the night, he said. Their relatives shifted them to district hospital where they were declared dead after examination, he added. Police have recovered an empty liquor bottle from the spot where the two were found lying, he said. The officer said the kin of Santram and Kurre have demanded an inquiry claiming the liquor was poisoned. He said the exact cause behind the deaths would be known on receipt of postmortem report. A case has been registered and further investigation is underway.last_img read more

Woman rescued from crane in Toronto adventure seeking friend says

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first_imgTORONTO – A young woman stranded for hours after scaling a construction crane in the middle of the night is a thrill seeker, a friend said Thursday.Marisa Lazo, 23, appeared in court Thursday to face six counts of mischief by interfering with property.Lazo was granted bail for $500 with several conditions, including staying away from construction sites and rooftops. The dual Canadian-American citizen also had to surrender her U.S. passport and attend “suitable counselling.”Lazo’s perilous climb and the dramatic hours-long rescue operation that followed on Wednesday made headlines around the country.Her friend, Sara Burton, called her a “really good girl” and an “adventure-seeking” person.“When I saw it, I knew that it was maybe not the best decision, obviously, maybe some logic was not playing into place,” Burton said outside court. “But the fact that she did it was not a shock to me — or that she had the ability to do it.”Firefighters said Wednesday they believed Lazo climbed up the crane, crawled out along the boom, and slid down a cable to a large pulley, where she was stranded.Toronto Fire Capt. Rob Wonfor, who rescued Lazo by rappelling down the towering machinery with her, said he was impressed she had been able to scale the crane unharmed.“She has to tell me how she did it, because she has to be our new training officer for high-angle (rescue) because it’s impressive,” Wonfor said after the rescue. “It was hard enough for me to go up with ropes and harnesses and she free-climbed that.”Burton, however, was not surprised.“She’s always there for the thrill,” the friend said.Lazo left court, pursued by reporters, without saying anything.Earlier on Thursday, Mayor John Tory commended Wonfor’s actions as well as the police officer who climbed the crane and helped in the rescue that left part of the downtown core shut down for several hours.“We want the people of Toronto to know that this is a small example of the public service rendered every single day by police, firefighters, paramedics, transit workers and a whole bunch of other people,” Tory said.last_img read more