President Barroso in Hong Kong: "the best is yet to come"
President José Manuel Barroso is today in Hong Kong for bilateral talks. "My visit to Hong Kong rounds off two very intensive weeks of engagement with Asia, which started in Brussels with a Summit with Korea,continuing with a visit to Mongolia and the two official Summits with Japan and China. This demonstrates how much Asia is now at the forefront of the European Union's priorities," the President said today.
This visit takes place during the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the EU Office in Hong Kong. In the afternoon, President Barroso met with hundreds of representatives of the business sector in a conference Organised by the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
During his presentation President Barroso presented an overview of the EU's economic situation. He also highlighted the strategic importance of the EU-Hong Kong relations.
In particular, he touched on the banking union and the EU’s political, trade and economic engagement with Asia, including mainland China and Hong Kong as major growth areas vital for the sustained economic recovery of Europe.
"I think it is fair to say that Europe has a stake in Asia's prosperity as much as Asia has a stake in Europe's prosperity".
Furthermore, President Barroso explained that yesterday, at the week's EU-China Summit, negotiations for an investment agreement were launched.
"We want to get even more out of it. With European investments in China representing only 2% of our worldwide FDI, and Chinese FDI to the European Union standing only at 1% of total inflows, there is still huge potential in this area. As our bond with Hong Kong proves, investment is a natural counterpart of trade. "
"These negotiations will remove restrictions and progressively liberalise investment, leading towards reciprocity in access for European and Chinese investors to each other's markets," he explained.
"Economic and social development go hand in hand, this is what makes Hong Kong so special and so captivating (...) and one should never doubt Europe's determination to be part of the continuous success story that is Hong Kong ", President Barroso said at the end of this session.
Read president's full speech