The all-time largest export delegation returned from China and Hong Kong

The export promotion delegation led by Foreign Trade Minister Jari Vilén returned from a ten-day tour in China and Hong Kong on Tuesday morning.

Minister Vilén met Hong Kong’s Trade and Industry Minister Henry Tang on Monday. According to the ministers, there are many similarities between Hong Kong and Finland, both being open economies where foreign trade plays a significant role. Some 85 percent of the Hong Kong economy consists of the service sector. Both have similar objectives with regard to the WTO talks. Minister Tang said the trade round has started slowly considering the fact that the process is scheduled to be concluded by the end of 2004.

The ministers also talked about prospects of cooperation for Finnish and Hong Kong companies on the Chinese market, particularly in Western China. Minister Vilén invited Minister Tang to visit Finland early next year when a joint investment protection treaty is scheduled for signing. Minister Tang was very keen on attracting Nokia Corporation to increase its research and development activities in Hong Kong.

Health and Food Minister E K Yeoh and Minister Vilén discussed the issue of aging population which is a great challenge for both Finland and Hong Kong. The hosts were interested in a new Finnish-Japanese care and service housing project for the elderly in Sendai, Japan, which was introduced by the Finnish export promotion agency Finpro.

The Hong Kong visit focused on promoting Finnish know-how in environment and energy sectors, construction and planning, health care and welfare as well as forest industry. A hundred local business partners as well as potential customers participated in a seminar organised in Hong Kong. Transport and Communications Minister Kimmo Sasi will lead a separate IT delegation to Hong Kong and China in December.