$240m for trade offices overseas

LEGISLATORS have approved $240 million for the purchase of permanent premises for three Hong Kong economic and trade offices overseas.

The Government said to buy the three offices in Tokyo, Geneva and New York was more economical in the long term.

Government property administrator Ian Wotherspoon told the Finance Committee there was a need to provide 'representational facilities' in receiving ambassadors or businessmen.

The price for the Tokyo office was estimated at $110 million while those in Geneva and New York were $50 million and $45 million respectively. Other expenses included accommodation and furniture.

A chief property manager from the Government Property Agency said the cost of an 800-square-foot office in central Tokyo might be less than for similar premises in Hong Kong.