As the Spanish Chamber of Commerce is about to turn 25, the visiting High Commissioner offers his remarks on Hong Kong. Not the best of wishes, but ones that reflect the mature and ongoing friendship between the two places.
The Spanish Chamber of Commerce celebrated its upcoming 25th birthday. Some 250 people from the Spanish and business community attended the Gala Dinner on December 3, among them was the visiting High Commissioner of the Government for the Marca Espana (Spain Brand), Mr Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros. When speaking to HT, he did not hold back from praising the longstanding relationship between Hong Kong and Spain.
“The [Spanish] Chamber of Commerce is a key element to put together people from Spain and Hong Kong, and to make Spain known by people and businessmen in this ‘city that never sleeps’ and vice versa,” Mr Espinosa de los Monteros told HT. “The fact that we celebrate this 25th anniversary is a sign of health that has gone through difficult moments. We believe that Hong Kong would always be a very relevant place even today it’s under some economic difficulties in certain sectors. We have come through the same process and were in difficulties for the last three or four years. Now we are recovering well.”
The High Commissioner suggested that Hong Kong should take the initiative to “attack” – in a good sense – the Chinese market.
The Gala Dinner was chaired by Mr Espinosa de los Monteros alongside Spanish Consul General Mr Santiago Martinez-Caro, President of the Spanish Chamber Mr Jose Martino, as well as CEO of the Leading Brands from Spain Forum Mr Miguel Otero. It marked the first time a ‘Friends of Spain’ awards ceremony was hosted in Hong Kong. The companies and individuals who were graced by the hosts’ awards were Hutchison Port Holdings, Cathay Pacific, Wharf T&T, Peter Gordon, Ms Daisy Ho on behalf of her father Dr Stanley Ho Hung-sun, and Hong Kong Arts Festival.
Before chairing the Gala Dinner, Mr Espinosa de los Monteros also attended the Business of Design Week (BODW) 2015 opening ceremony, of which the exotic Mediterranean city of Barcelona was this year’s BODW partner.
“In Spain, we are convinced that design is a key element to preserve cities, to make them attractive and liveable, and Barcelona is a good example. To be [at the BODW event] was a good opportunity to exchange views with another very creative city like Hong Kong,” the High Commissioner said.
Mr Espinosa de los Monteros concluded by offering his kind words to the Hong Kong women’s rugby team, who are now in Spain as the first Hong Kong XV to play a test series against non-Asian opponents from December 12 to 21 in Madrid. The 25-woman strong squad will take on their much stronger Spanish counterparts.
“I wish they enjoy their stay in Spain and play a good game against the Spanish team. That being said, I don’t really want them to win – perhaps a draw would be great,” Mr Espinosa de los Monteros said. A rather rare result in a rugby game, but this shows how the friendship between the city that never sleeps and the former ‘empire on which the sun never sets’ is always treasured.