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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : news.gov.hk)

FS' speech at Signing Ceremony of the Comprehensive Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation between the HKSAR and Vietnam (English only)(with photo)

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Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the Signing Ceremony of the Comprehensive Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation between the HKSAR and Vietnam in Hanoi today (December 16):

Your Excellency (Mr Do Hoang Anh Tuan, Vice-Minister of Finance), Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

I am delighted to be here today on this special occasion to sign the Comprehensive Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation between Hong Kong and Vietnam.

I wish to thank the Government and the people of Vietnam for the warm welcome extended to the Hong Kong delegation and for the excellent arrangements you have kindly made for this event.

Today's signing ceremony is significant because it serves to elevate our bilateral relationship to a new level. It also strengthens the spirit of our bilateral partnership, our enhanced co-operation and greater integration in our region.

Vietnam's economy has been transformed since the launch of "Doi Moi" in 1986. Following the introduction of these reforms, the Hong Kong business community has been among the first to invest in the dynamic economy of Vietnam.

The Vietnam Consulate-General in Hong Kong was opened in 1994, and Vietnam also has a well-established trade representative office in our city. As for Hong Kong, our Trade Development Council has operated a full-fledged office in Ho Chi Minh City since 1997.

Last year, our bilateral trade was worth more than US$3 billion. And in the first nine months of this year, there was a 25% increase in trade between us compared with the same period last year.

The signing of this Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, further deepens our bilateral relations and will serve the mutual interests of both sides.

The DTA represents tax savings and a higher degree of certainty on taxation rights for investors from both Vietnam and Hong Kong when they engage in bilateral trade and investment activities. It also fosters economic co-operation and it protects both our governments' revenue base.

I am confident that this DTA will encourage a greater flow of investment, technology, talents and expertise between us, and that will certainly help strengthen both our economies for many years to come.

I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in finalising this agreement efficiently and smoothly, reaching a consensus on all articles after three rounds of talks.

After today's signing, we will complete the legal procedures to bring the arrangement into force and update our business community on the details.

I look forward to even stronger bilateral economic ties between our economies, and to the continued friendship between the people of Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Issued at HKT 12:14

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The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, officiates at the opening ceremony of the Inland Revenue Department's 60th anniversary exhibition today (October 23). With him are the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mrs Alice Lau.