Updated at 6.08pm: Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said on Friday Hong Kong's economy was expected to enjoy strong growth and falling unemployment this year. In a speech at Government House to Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus - who is visiting the territory - Mr Tung was optimistic about the economy. 'Our economy is forecast to grow by six per cent this year. Property and stock markets have re-doubled and rebounded, and unemployment is slowly but surely declining,' he said. The Chief Executive said Hong Kong was determined to maintain its position as the premier business gateway to China. 'Recently, we have made significant progress in enhancing our co-operation with China. The implementation this year of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa), a free trade agreement between Hong Kong and China, will give Hong Kong companies and professionals greater access to the huge and growing mainland market,' he said. 'This arrangement is equally applicable to international businesses, including Czech companies operating in Hong Kong, irrespective of their country of origin,' Mr Tung added. He said he hoped for further growth in trade between Hong Kong, China and the Czech Republic. This had already grown by 10 per cent over the last five years. 'As the first among the new European Union member states to establish an investment promotion agency in Hong Kong, I am confident that Czech companies will take advantage of the opportunities brought about by Cepa and the developing China market,' Mr Tung said.