Consul General’s speech at Queen's Birthday Party Macao 2015
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British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao Caroline Wilson’s speech at the Queen's Birthday Party in Macao 2015.
Secretary for Administration and Justice of the Macao SAR Government Ms Chan Hoi Fan, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this year’s Queen’s Birthday Party –Her Majesty’s 89th Birthday – here in Macao.
I would like to thank our many kind sponsors whose names are displayed around the Science Museum and in the programme cards. Also to the providers of the outstandingly GREAT British food and drink that is being served today. And to the Macao Youth Symphony Orchestra. Ladies and gentlemen, may I invite you to raise your glasses in the first toast of the evening to Her Majesty [“The Queen”].
Since we last gathered, I feel very inspired by the UK-Macao relationship. I genuinely feel that it has intensified - politically, commercially as well as culturally.
First - politically, it is not an exaggeration to say that we have seen a step change in our relationship with Macao. In particular since the December anniversary of the 15th anniversary of the handover of Macao, which I attended, and the installation of a new Government, there is a new era in Macao, equally a new phase in UK-Macao cooperation being ushered in. While I know that Macao faces challenges, I sense that your government is willing to embrace the opportunities in their wake. And we as the UK are keen to work with you.
I am delighted at the close working relationship we now have with you, Madam Secretary, and the Macao government across all departments. I have already had excellent discussions with your colleagues on environment, transport, health, education, culture, tourism and the creative industries. I was greatly encouraged by the vision and energy of the new Secretaries.
And in one specific area our talks have already borne fruit. This year we took our first ever delegation from Macao Police to the UK Home Office’s Security & Policing Exhibition & Conference. We are advancing cooperation on border security and crime prevention. And the UK’s National Crime Agency wishes to express its gratitude for the support from Macao, and looking forward to enhancing this cooperation following their permanent deployment to Hong Kong from July 2015.
Second, in line with the strengthening of our political relationship, UK Trade and Investment and the business community have been busy bees. The UK is now Macao’s 7th largest trade partner. UK companies are making a real difference to life in Macao, whether our top talents through the GREAT buildings they design or engineer or companies selling their GREAT products, services and skills.
Macao remains an exciting and creative place to visit and do business in. No surprise that we are bringing more trade missions to Macao with each passing year. This past year was a record in terms of number of British companies attending trade mission in Macao. Today we have six British companies present on a “smart cities’ mission” - we hope soon to see applied in Macao their smart technologies and design innovations. For we want “missioners” not just to come to Macao, but to successfully launch business here - as some of Her Majesty’s Royal Warrant Holders have done.
The message I underline is that we in the UK stand willing and able to do so much more to support your plans for economic growth. From creative industries to retail and food & beverage; from infrastructure and high-quality service provision, to the development of Macao’s Sovereign Wealth Fund; the UK has much to offer as Macao’s economy grows and diversifies. And we do not regard Macao in isolation – we very much appreciate your plans for regional economic integration, and are working with colleagues across the border in Guangzhou on bringing the best of Britain to your shores, and supporting you and mainland colleagues as you innovate on policy, whether low carbon or healthcare.
This year I have visited Nansha, Hengqin and just yesterday I was in beautiful Zhuhai. This whole of the Western Pearl River Delta region is very exciting – with Macao at the centre of a web of possibility. It is incredible to think how the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macao bridge will soon multiply the channels between you, Hong Kong and the mainland.
For this year in Macao we already have concrete plans:
In June – an experience economy mission; in July a Smart City mission, in the autumn we hope for collaboration with the Secretary for transport & public works on a roundtable; as well as a retail mission. And we aspire to bring 007 to you in the form of a Great Bond Premier in Macau in November. December we aim for a GREAT British Christmas Month.
From trade to investment - where 2014 was another strong year, building on the UK’s status as the No. 1 destination to invest in Europe and set up European Headquarters. With the UK’s Corporation Tax now at 20%, the lowest in the G20 - the UK’s business environment is going from strength to strength.
I should add that this is a reflection of our broader strong relationship with China. 2014 was once again a year for RMB offshore growth - the UK as the major Western hub. In the UK we have had a number of European firsts such as the first Chinese Asset Management office set up in Europe to access RQFII quota; and Europe’s first Exchange Traded Fund investing in China’s money markets being importantly domiciled in the UK. We look forward to investment and innovation from Macao in the area of financial services too.
In addition to being a GREAT place to do business, the UK continues to be GREAT in many other ways, particularly with Brit Stuart Easton winning the Macao Motorcycle Grand Prix last November and Martin Cao Hongwei inspiring a new generation of racing drivers across China by winning the British Formula Three Championship in 2014. We will also be hosting the rugby world cup in England and Wales this year.
Culturally, London’s West End production of Hairspray was a centre piece of the Macao International Music Festival last Autumn; Macao University Lecturers have spoken at events at Goldsmith’s College at the University of London and at TiLE an experience economy event. We even helped the people of Macao to “walk with Dinosaurs” when we introduced UK experience economy company AppShaker to City of Dreams. And then there is David Beckham’s film cameo for a well known operator.
Also on culture - the British Council have upped their activity on Macao. They led a delegation of nine UK universities here last month to visit secondary schools, the Tertiary Education Services Office and the University of Macao. The aim was to enable students to learn more about study possibilities in the UK, and to discuss partnership opportunities with the University of Macao. The British Council also took part in the International Higher Education Exhibition. They are working on teacher development needs and hopeful of opportunities for partnership.
So as you can see, the British Consulate in Hong Kong & Macao is delivering for her Majesty and for this I would like to thank all of my talented, hard working and conscientious team for all they do for the British Community in Macao and Hong Kong.
A huge thank you also to Dr Glenn McCartney, our Honorary Consul here, who continues to provide tremendous support; and a deep appreciation for the support of our partners in the excellent British Business Association of Macao.
My special thanks to Eileen, who stood down as Chair of BBAM recently and to Henry who has taken over the reins from Eileen as the new Chair of BBAM. We are very grateful to you and your members who give us so much support. This is a real team effort.
Finally thanks must go of course to our Macao partners and friends here this evening. We are grateful to you all for your support and look forward to more joint working over the year ahead.
I invite you all to join me in a toast, ‘to the people of the People’s Republic of China and the Macao Special Administrative Region’.
May I now invite Ms Chan Hoi Fan, the Secretary for Administration and Justice of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, to address our guests.