Hong Kong trade commissioner meets with government, business officials in Wichita

03/27/2014 5:29 PM

03/27/2014 5:29 PM

Clement Leung has been hustling since he took over as Hong Kong’s commissioner for trade in the United States in January.

“It’s a big country,” he said several times about the U.S. during an interview Thursday at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Kansas is his sixth state since January, and each visit has been packed with handshakes, speeches and interviews, as he tries to raise Hong Kong’s profile with scores of U.S. cities and companies, large and small.

He met Thursday with government and company officials in Wichita, and he had similar meetings in Topeka and Olathe.

He wants businesses to know that he and his staff in New York and San Francisco are there to help if someone wants to find investors, distributors, an office to operate from, a market to sell to or just a place to visit.

Hong Kong has a lot to recommend it, he said. It’s a top-tier financial center, renowned for its ease of operation, and has links to mainland China, while operating under its own rule of law.

Leung said he is particularly interested in reaching out to Kansas food producers and food processors, as well as aircraft manufacturers.

“Kansas is very externally oriented,” he said. “Asia is a big fan of Kansas products, and that helps drive economic growth here.”

Kansas already exports $117 million worth of goods and services to and through Hong Kong, he said.

As much of Asia becomes wealthier, the demand for higher-quality food, particularly consumer-ready food products, will grow, he said.

As former head of food safety for Hong Kong, Leung said he appreciates the safety and quality of food produced in America.

“It’s no longer just about getting your belly full, but about a quality product,” he said.

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