Some fear the speed of these developments and hope that public policies can slow down globalization. Of course there may be dangers in globalization—if the special needs of vulnerable economies are not dealt with by the international community. Careful handling—for example in the WTO is vital. But globalization may also have the potential for all economies to advance—and for individuals to reap the real benefits of wealth creation in terms of better public services, education, health or private interests. We are beneficiaries of globalization and we will continue to work together to maximize the opportunity that exists for both our benefits.
Let me begin with developing countries. They too must benefit from free and fair trade. Studies show that a 50% reduction in protectionist measures could boost developing country incomes by around $ 150bn a year, three times current aid flows. World Bank figures estimate that the continued opening of markets to trade could lift an additional 300 million people out of poverty by 2015. I know that Hong Kong has concerns about subsidies and barriers to trade in agriculture in the EU. Let me reassure you that the UK is at the forefront for pressing for much needed reform in this area—especially seeking reductions with a view to phasing them out. We all agreed to do this when we signed the Doha declaration—just one year ago. Now 144 countries including all in the EU have signed that declaration. The Prime Minister himself feels that this important area needs our continued commitment. We will certainly continue to press for deeds not words.
I am sure everyone present will agree that the Trade Development Council does a very impressive job in promoting Hong Kong's commercial interests and—along with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, the Monetary Authority and the Tourism Board.