Focus on promoting economic relations
Hong Kong, 7 November 2003 - Yesterday in the late afternoon Austrian Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner arrived in Hong Kong for her two-day visit, which mainly focused on the further intensification of economic relations between Austria and Hong Kong as well as the Pearl River Delta. The first item on Ferrero-Waldner's agenda was the inauguration of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. The Austrian Chamber in Hong Kong is to serve as the official representation of Austrian companies in Hong Kong and facilitate communication between all parties involved as well as with the competent government agencies in Hong Kong and Austria, the objective being to promote trading and investment activities in the region. Ferrero-Waldner welcomed this initiative and also underscored the role of the Foreign Ministry in creating optimum framework conditions for economic and trade relations. More than 60 Austrian companies already have branch establishments in Hong Kong; Austrian exports to Hong Kong have increased by an average of 20% over the past five years and in 2002 amounted to about EUR 600 million.
This morning, Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner opened an economic roundtable on environmental and transport issues, which served the purpose of introducing representatives of the competent Hong Kong government agencies and potential business partners to the expertise and know-how of Austrian companies active in these areas.
At the end of her visit, Ferrero-Waldner met with Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa to discuss the current situation of Hong Kong and its relationship to Mainland China as well as Austria's position in an enlarged Europe.