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Live from Posidonia

Hong Kong courts Greek maritime community with plethora of services offerings

Hong Kong courts Greek maritime community with plethora of services offerings
Posidonia 2016 is the recently formed Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board's (HKMPB) first overseas outing.

Along with their counterparts from within the Hong Kong government such as representatives from the Transport and Housing Bureau, which is in charge of the maritime industry, InvestHK and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council have been actively promoting the city's strengths as a major international maritime centre and gateway to China as well as a potential major conduit for business under China's Belt and Road initiative.

As part of their efforts, they visited the Union of Greek Shipowners as well as Cosco Pacific's port facilities in Piraeus. The delegation also attended a business luncheon organised by Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, HKMPB member and Reed Smith Richards Butler partner Li Lianjun said.

Speaking at the luncheon, Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung said: "Indeed, the links between Greece and Hong Kong have been strong and growing. Greece is a growing trading partner of Hong Kong in Europe."

Whle the delegation has been doing their best to tell the Greek shipping community about Hong Kong's merits, there has also been active interest from the Greek side. A range of issues were raised at the various events from Hong Kong's role in the Belt and Road initiative to questions as basic as how to set up a shipping business in Hong Kong.

Referring to Hong Kong's unique position with regard to this major Chinese initiative, Cheung said: "With its unique advantages in strategic location, professional services, and cultural and people-to-people interactions, Hong Kong would stand to make important contributions to the Belt and Road Initiative."

Among Hong Kong's advantages to Greek shipowners is its common law system, solid financial system as well as solid background in arbitration, Li added. Meanwhile InvestHK head of Transport & Industral Benjamin Wong said there has been an increasing trend of Greek and Hong Kong shipowners collaborating more with each other. 

Hong Kong's drive to become a Corporate Treasury Hub also dovetails well with the desire of some shipowners to tap into the renminbi market while also taking advantage of Hong Kong's favourable tax regime, noted Wong.

"Our friends in Greece, if you aspire to extend your business operations to China and the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong is your trusted partner. We have a rich, century-long maritime heritage, and are now widely recognised as an international maritime centre and regional logistics hub," concluded Cheung.