Financial Secretary, Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be with you this evening and to have the opportunity to say a few words about the UK's trade relationship with Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council's Annual Dinner is not only a very enjoyable occasion and one of the major events in the UK s business calendar, but it is also a celebration of the ongoing trade relationship between the UK and Hong Kong.
As Minister for International Trade and Investment, I am especially pleased to be here tonight. When the Prime Minister appointed me as the Trade Minister it was a first for joined-up government—bringing together at ministerial level the two Departments, the FCO4 and DU which—through British Trade International—support exporters and investors, at home and overseas. The Prime Minister was very clear—he wanted exporters and international investors to have a single voice within government. I am determined to raise that voice whenever I can. It is this agenda—how to make globalization work for all of as that is so challenging in the current round of negotiations in the World Trade Organization.
This audience in particular understands that, like all other economies, we face a new and much accelerated global economic challenge. Fueled by knowledge and innovation, the international market place is more rapid and comprehensive than ever before.
I know that some find these developments worrying.