A joint team from the Governor’s Office and the new Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Maritime and Aviation Affairs was in Hong Kong last week for talks with the authorities there. The delegation, led by Eric Bush, chief officer at the international trade ministry, and Matthew Forbes, head of the Governor’s Office, is meeting officials in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to agree plans for the opening of Cayman’s new trade office in the city.
Bush and Forbes also met with the British Consul General Andy Heyn and his team, who are supporting the new initiative, as well as the heads of Invest Hong Kong, the British Chamber of Commerce and representatives of Cayman Islands companies with offices in Hong Kong.
In addition, the mission aimed to identify premises for the new office, which is expected to open in early October, according to a Cayman Islands government press release.
The office will support Cayman companies not just in Hong Kong but also mainland China. The Hong Kong office is the first of several planned Cayman Islands government offices in key markets. Hong Kong was selected for its existing links to Cayman businesses and due to its location as a gateway to other Asian markets.
Forbes, who was previously deputy consul general in Shanghai, said China is an important marketplace for Cayman companies and Hong Kong can act as a springboard for firms looking to do business there. “It is important to establish relationships with the Hong Kong authorities and other partners who will be vital to the success of the office,” he said.
Cayman’s Hong Kong office will promote investment opportunities in Cayman and support financial services and tourism. It will also provide real-time support services, such as certificates of good standing, dealing with immigration-related queries for Asian visitors, and potentially company incorporation and funds registration on the same day and in the same time zone. As such, it is expected to add to Cayman-based firms already operating in Hong Kong and Asia.
Government has allocated an initial $3 million in its annual budget to staff the new ministry and Hong Kong office and for promotional activities.
Recruitment for the new head of the office is currently under way.
Chief Officer Bush said the trip had laid the foundations for a successful opening of Cayman’s new office in Asia. “We are grateful for the support of the Hong Kong SAR Government and the British Consulate General in this venture,” he said. “Having a physical presence in this fast-paced and complex part of the world will help Cayman companies achieve their full potential and develop new opportunities, in particular for our world-class financial services sector.”