Premier Talks Trade And Investment In Hong Kong
McGuinty Tells Leading Investors That Ontario And Hong Kong Can Form A "Passageway To The World Economy"
HONG KONG -- Premier Dalton McGuinty is telling leading investors here -- including one of the world's wealthiest people -- that Ontario is open for business.
"We know China's economic boom is often fuelled by Hong Kong's savvy, Hong Kong's expertise, and Hong Kong's capital," McGuinty said.
"So visiting Hong Kong, and stressing our commitment to trade and two-way investment, is the perfect way to culminate our trade mission to China."
McGuinty met today with Li Ka Shing, the 76-year-old Chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. and Hutchison Whampoa Limited.
A leading investor in China, Canada and around the world, Li owns considerable assets in Canada, notably Husky Oil, and has expressed an interest in further investments in Canada.
Li, who left school at age 12 to help support his struggling family, has gone from a 16-hour-a-day job in a Hong Kong plastics trading company to where he is today: listed by Forbes (2005) as the 22 nd richest person in the world, with a net worth that has been estimated at several billion dollars.
While Hong Kong is the gateway to China, one of the world's largest and fastest growing markets, Ontario is the gateway to North America, one of the world's most advanced and affluent markets, the Premier is telling investors.
By working more closely together, he says, the two jurisdictions can form a "passageway to the world economy" that will deliver jobs and prosperity for Ontarians, people in Hong Kong, and the people of China.
He told an audience of leading business people that Ontario is determined to expand the $880 million in trade it does each year with Hong Kong.
"Ontario and Hong Kong have much in common. We share an ambition to succeed in the rapidly changing world economy," McGuinty told the Annual Board of Governors meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
"We are both the economic engines of our respective countries, we are both traders, and our people are, quite literally, related to one another," he said.
"More than 250,000 Canadians live here in Hong Kong, many of them from Ontario, and there are 500,000 Chinese-Canadians living in Ontario, many of them from Hong Kong."
He stressed the tremendous contribution made to Ontario by people from Hong Kong, including Tony Wong, the MPP for Markham, the Premier's Parliamentary Assistant for Research and Innovation, and a leading member of the trade mission here.
Economic Development and Trade Minister Joe Cordiano told a business networking luncheon that Ontario is strengthening its economic advantage by investing in education, fostering innovation and attracting new investment, including $4.5 billion in new auto investment, in just the past two years.
He said the Premier's meeting with Li, on the heels of meetings with leading government officials and business people in mainland China, underscores Ontario's importance on the world economic stage.
Ontario's 12-day trade mission to China and Hong Kong includes more than 125 people from approximately 100 organizations, representing private sector companies, universities and colleges, municipalities, agricultural organizations and medical research institutions.
The mission wraps up tomorrow.