The Ireland Hong Kong Business Forum, together with Dublin Chamber of Commerce, which acts as secretariat for the Forum, welcomes the news that the Government is to open a new consulate in Hong Kong.
According to Ronan King, president of the Ireland Hong Kong Business Forum: “We are delighted to hear that a consulate will be opened in Hong Kong. This is something we have been campaigning for long and hard for many years. The opening of an consulate will not only facilitate increased trade between Ireland and Hong Kong, but it will also provide a vital stepping stone for Irish companies to do business in China and other burgeoning Asian economies.”
Total trade between Ireland and Hong Kong amounted to $824mn in the first 11 months of 2013. Hong Kong is one of the few countries in the world which Ireland imports more from that it exports. In the first months of 2013, Ireland exported $237mn worth of goods to Hong Kong, while imports over the same period totalled $587mn.
Hong Kong is best known as a global financial hub, but King says that interest from Irish companies is not just restricted to the financial services sector. “Hong Kong is a huge entry point for the Chinese mainland. Food is a major growth area and there is a huge need for dairy products in particular. Irish companies such as Kerry Group and Greencore are already active there. The opening of the consulate will pave the way for many more Irish companies to start exporting more to Hong Kong and other Asian countries.”
A Double Taxation Agreement has been in place between Ireland and Hong Kong since 2010. Hong Kong’s legal framework is based on the English common law, which makes it easier for Irish and UK firms to do business there.
King adds: “There is huge potential for a strategic relationship between Ireland and Hong Kong, which is a leading international trading and services hub. Not only does Hong Kong practice free trade, but it also has very competitive taxation, no foreign exchange control, and a well-established rule of law and transparent regulations. It also boasts world class infrastructure and a well-educated workforce.”