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Win-win outcome attainable for construction sectors of HK, Mainland and Philippines

The Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Works), Mr Lo Yiu-ching, said in Manila today (June 14) that the setting up of business networks among the construction sectors of Hong Kong, Mainland China and the Philippines would achieve synergy and create a win-win outcome for the three places.

Mr Lo and a delegation from the Mainland and Hong Kong construction sectors arrived yesterday for a three-day visit to the Philippines.

Addressing a dinner attended by senior Philippines officials and leading members of the construction, commercial and banking sectors, Mr Lo said that the Philippines was Hong Kong's 11th biggest trading partner in 2004, signifying the close relationship maintained by Hong Kong and the Philippines in trade and investment.

"We are glad to learn that the Philippines's economy has been experiencing strong growth in the past few years and is continuously on an upswing," Mr Lo said. "The Gross Domestic Product grew by 5.1% and the Gross National Product rose by 5.7% in 2005 compared with 2004, and in 2005 the Philippine peso was East Asia's best performing currency.

"With the rapid growth of the economy, there is a strong demand for infrastructure development in the Philippines.

"The total investment in infrastructure for the period 2006 to 2010 is estimated to be around 1.5 trillion Philippine pesos. It is obvious that the high demand for infrastructural and related facilities will unleash tremendous opportunities for developers, contractors and consultants," Mr Lo said.

He pointed out that Hong Kong possessed world-class construction professionals who were conversant with international standards, trends and practices.

"Hong Kong is strong in management skills, especially in project and contract management of large-scale infrastructural projects, is familiar with the most advanced construction technology and can provide boundless innovative solutions to tackle the most challenging engineering problems.

"Hong Kong has a stable political structure and comprehensive legal framework and is one of the most vibrant international financial centres in the world. So our companies have good track records of self-financing the construction of some mega infrastructure projects under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model.

"As China has become the most energised economic powerhouse in the region following accession to World Trade Organisation, Hong Kong is best positioned to perform as the launchpad for Mainland enterprises in developing a global presence in view of our competitive edge in financial services," Mr Lo said.

Hong Kong's gateway position and the "9+2" Pan-Pearl River Delta Region framework could provide the construction sectors with an unprecedented opportunity to pursue collaboration at a regional level, Mr Lo added.

Early this morning, Mr Lo and members of the delegation attended a breakfast briefing by officials on trade and industry, construction and investment. The delegation then visited the Bonifacio Global City, a new city developed on the former American and Filipino military base in the heart of Makati, the financial district of the Philippines.

Mr Lo and the delegation also called on the Secretary of Public Works and Highways, Mr Hermogenes Ebdane, and the Secretary of Trade and Industry, Mr Peter Favilla today.

Before departing for Cambodia tomorrow (June 15),the delegation will visit the Asian Development Bank Headquarters and the Department of Transportation and Communications in Manila.

The delegation comprises 28 senior executives and professionals from 24 reputable enterprises and organisations from Hong Kong and Mainland China, covering a wide range of businesses including real estate development, construction services and professional services.

The visit to the Philippines and Cambodia was jointly organised by the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau and Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Singapore.

The Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore, Mr Lam Kam-kwong, said that the visit was important to the growing ties between the Philippines and Hong Kong, and between Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Ends/Wednesday, June 14, 2006