Scene at the opening ceremony of the In Style – Hong Kong (Photo: toquoc.vn)

HCM City (VNA) – Vietnam and Hong Kong (China) are in the face of big opportunities to push up investment and trade cooperation, experts said at a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 20.

The workshop on “Vietnam-Hong Kong cooperation for prosperity” was part of the “In Style – Hong Kong”, the largest trade, investment and lifestyle promotion event ever held in Vietnam by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Paul Chan Mo-po said Hong Kong is China’s key gateway to the world and vice versa, while Vietnam is among economies with the most impressive growth in Asia.

He said Vietnam, with its rapid infrastructure, economic and technological development, has clear growth orientations and attracted attention from foreign investors, including those from Hong Kong.

The partnership between Hong Kong and Vietnam will play a key role in shaping Asia’s development into a strategic centre in many fields, he stressed, adding that the ASEAN-Hong Kong free trade agreement, which was signed last year, is considered a boost to trade, investment and service flows between the two sides in the coming time.

Agreeing with the view, Jonathan K. S. Choi, Chairman of the Hong Kong-based Sunwah Group, said Vietnam and Hong Kong have advantages to supplement each other in economic cooperation.

He said Vietnam is currently not only an export processing centre but also a large-scale consumption market with a growing middle class, adding that it is an aspect that Hong Kong companies could exploit.

To captitalise on chances offered by both sides’ potential, Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Vincent H.S. Lo suggested Vietnamese firms actively attract financial sources from Hong Kong to develop domestic infrastructure and industry, while using trade transaction floors in Hong Kong to promote its goods to global buyers.

He said Hong Kong firms need to quickly set up partnerships with their Vietnamese enterprises to seize investment and business opportunities in the market and expand their reach to other markets in ASEAN.

Lo noted the two economies still have large room to boost investment in the fields where Hong Kong holds strengths and Vietnam have demand such as supporting industry, finance – banking, and logistics.

Sharing his investment experience in Vietnam, John Cheh from the Hong Kong-based Esquel Group said foreign businesses operating in Vietnam should not only focus on cheap labour for export processing, but also pay attention to creating core values and contributing to the country’s socio-economic development.

He said Vietnam now owns many high competitive production sectors and a quality workforce, along an increasing consumption power.

Cheh said Hong Kong enterprises should work with Vietnamese partners to produce goods and develop the market, and advised them to pay their local workers properly in exchange for their long-term commitments.

Vietnam is Hong Kong’s biggest export market in ASEAN and its 6th largest export market in the world. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is Vietnam’s 9th biggest trade partner and 6th biggest foreign investor.

Bilateral trade exceeded 18 billion USD in 2017. By the end of August 2018, Hong Kong has a total of 1,353 projects worth 19 billion USD in Vietnam, mainly focusing on the fields of production, logistics, food processing, hotel and travel.-VNA