Isle of Man Visit Boosts Friendly Links with Hong Kong
In a visit hosted by The ILS Group, Hong Kong’s new chief representative based in London has visited the Isle of Man to build up links. Agnes Allcock, director-general of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, quoting Casablanca, said: ‘I think this is the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship.’
During her one day visit she visited ILS's Isle of Man office and met with Colin Kniveton and Tim Craine from the Department of Economic Development (DED), Hilary Dugdale from Isle of Man Film and representatives from the aircraft and shipping registries.
Mrs Allcock said: ‘We definitely want to come back and explore a little bit more. It seems there is so much room and potential for collaboration from the two places.’
Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese authorities in 1997 – ending more than 150 years of British control.
She believes the Island can make good use of Hong Kong’s geographical and economic position.
‘Like the Isle of Man is the gateway to Europe, Hong Kong is the gateway to China and Asia,’ she said.
Within a four hour flight from Hong Kong you can reach the key Asian cities and within a five hour flight you can reach half of the world’s population.
Companies with a base in Hong Kong enjoy a free trade agreement with mainland China through a Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).
She said there were a number of similarities between the special administrative region of China and the Island – including English as an official language, sharing core values and being a financial centre.
‘If we co-operate then we will be very good partners to try and draw people from the west and the east to meet together and for business to flourish.’
As well as economic links, Mrs Allcock believes there is the potential to develop links between the two places by encouraging young people to go on exchange visits.
‘Culturally, they would find it very comfortable because of the tradition and long-standing links with the UK,’ she said.
DED chief officer Colin Kniveton said: ‘It was a great pleasure to welcome Agnes to our offices and to be able to advise her on the work undertaken by this department.
‘We believe that there are a number of possibilities for future working relationships and I will be arranging for London based director of business development Michael Charlton to meet with Agnes in order that areas of mutual interest will be progressed.’
Mrs Allcock is the highest representative of the Hong Kong Government in the UK.
She has served in the Hong Kong civil service since 1974 and was previously the deputy secretary for the civil service.
She plays a key role in bilateral relations between the UK and Hong Kong, as well as with the eight other countries the London office is responsible for: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia and Sweden.