I refer to Jake van der Kamp's column ('Support our local exporters? But we've exported 'em all', February 12).
He said that the Trade Development Council 'was set up to promote goods made in Hong Kong, full stop'.
The TDC Ordinance states that the council's function is 'to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong's trade with places outside Hong Kong, with particular reference to exports'. Manufacturing may no longer be in Hong Kong, but trade, especially re-exports, is a major economic pillar. Trade and industry-related activities, including logistics, design, quality control and others, contribute about 45 per cent of our gross domestic product. They also bring business to sectors such as financial, advertising, marketing and professional services. Promoting re-exports was, and will always be, an important part of the TDC's mandate.
Incidentally, Toronto-made products are not re-exported through Hong Kong and therefore provide no value added to our economy.
Van der Kamp also said: 'The TDC's big trade shows at the CEC [Convention and Exhibition Centre] generally reveal it: endless arrays of plastic rubbish and other low-end junk ... what the TDC gets is the losers.'
This is a malicious remark against exhibitors at TDC trade fairs. Such fairs cover, for example, toys, electronics, gifts and premiums, fashion and innovative design. Products at our trade shows are of the highest quality and design. More than 660,000 global buyers join our fairs annually. Your columnist should visit one of our fairs.
Finally, van der Kamp said that the TDC could not 'teach bankers to bank or shippers to ship. Service exports don't suit a manufacturing-goods pedlar.'
The World Trade Organisation's trade definition has always included services. Since the late 1990s, when Hong Kong's service sector has become our economic mainstay, the TDC has been entrusted by the government, and requested by the service industry, to help them open new markets and expand their scope.
We never pretend to teach the services sector how to do its business, but with our global coverage, the TDC helps it expand its reach. Industry leaders sit on our advisory committees to guide our promotional efforts. Van der Kamp has taken a prejudiced view and is not looking at the real situation.
Jack So, chairman, Hong Kong Trade Development Council