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On a recent visit to Switzerland, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So promoted Hong Kong as a place for Swiss firms to do business, using both the free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and the member states of the European Free Trade Association, and the Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with China.
On January 24, at a business luncheon jointly hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Berlin, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Swiss-Hong Kong Business Association, So spoke about the great opportunities for Hong Kong and Switzerland to strengthen co-operation as Switzerland's hi-tech firms might get a foothold in the Chinese market, as well as markets across Asia.
"In 2012, Mainland China overtook the United States for the highest number of filings in major types of intellectual property (IP) rights," he said. "We are exploring ways to establish Hong Kong as an IP trading hub in Asia, not just for Mainland Chinese firms but also for innovative companies in Hong Kong, in Switzerland and around the world."
He pointed out that Swiss firms can take advantage of the FTA signed in 2011 between Hong Kong and the Member States of the European Free Trade Association, including Switzerland, and of the CEPA with China, which, he noted, includes more than 400 trade liberalization measures and covers 48 services sectors.
"Importantly for our friends here in Switzerland, CEPA's rules are nationality-neutral," he added. "This means that overseas firms incorporated in Hong Kong, including Hong Kong-incorporated Swiss firms, can enjoy the same benefits of CEPA as local companies in reaching the Mainland China market."
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