As economies across the globe continue to reel from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong is looking to strengthen economic relations with key trading partners.
Earlier this month the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Aomori Prefectural Government of Japan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual cooperation in promoting economic exchange. The signing ceremony was held during the 2022 Food Expo, a flagship event organised by the HKTDC.
Japan was Hong Kong’s sixth-largest trading partner last year, with merchandise trade amounting to about HK$390 billion (US$50 billion). Domestic exports of goods from Hong Kong to Japan were worth HK$666 million, while Hong Kong imported about HK$271 billion worth of goods from Japan.
Commanding a vast coastline with abundant marine life, Aomori Prefecture in Japan’s Tohoku region in the north of the main island, Honshu, boasts a flourishing aquaculture industry. It is also known for its well-developed forestry and agricultural industries thanks to its rich natural environment.
The HKTDC and Aomori Prefectural Government will engage in a variety of exchange programmes, including business meetings, seminars and trade fairs, to extend economic cooperation. The MoU will facilitate economic exchange and create opportunities for businesses in both Hong Kong and Aomori Prefecture. With enterprises looking to recover from the impact of the pandemic, the MoU enables them to capture opportunities, tap into new markets and expand operations.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said: “I hope that through carrying out economic exchange programmes, including business missions, seminars and trade fairs, we can expand trade and investment, cement our business ties and drive economic growth in Hong Kong and Aomori Prefecture. Strong bilateral economic relationships are critical to the stability of today’s global economy, and the HKTDC is pleased to engage with the Aomori Prefecture Government to further economic exchange.”
Shingo Mimura, Governor of the Aomori Prefectural Government, added: “While Hong Kong is the main export destination for the world-renowned Aomori apple, its people also enjoy our beautiful landscapes created by the four seasons, our festivals, fresh food and hot springs. Over the years, [Hong Kong people] have built a close relationship with Aomori. The Aomori Prefecture Government is committed to promoting agriculture, forestry and aquatic products for export and attracting tourists. We will continue to devote our efforts to strengthening trade relations between the two places. With the HKTDC’s platform, we hope to promote our hidden gems and gourmet cuisine to those in Hong Kong who love Japanese food and culture.”
The HKTDC Food Expo was held from 11 to 15 August, running concurrently with the HKTDC Hong Kong International Tea Fair, HKTDC Home Delights Expo and HKTDC Beauty & Wellness Expo at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, featuring more than 1,000 exhibitors. Aomori Prefecture set up a pavilion at the Food Expo to showcase its local specialities.