Hong Kong News

Contactless e-Channel service launched

The Contactless e-Channel service was launched (Dec 1) at the Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Shenzhen Bay control points, providing faster, more convenient travel and a more hygienic immigration clearance service for Hong Kong residents. The clearance procedure only takes around seven seconds. Residents can still continue to use fingerprint verification technology or traditional counters for immigration clearance.

Key Economic Indicators

  • The value of total retail sales in Oct, provisionally estimated at US$3.9 billion, grew 12% year-on-year, as the entrenched economic recovery and disbursement of the second batch of electronic consumption vouchers enhanced consumption sentiment.
  • In the third quarter of 2021, total port cargo throughput decreased by 12.4% year-on-year to 55.5 million tonnes. During the same period, the port of Hong Kong handled 4.64 million TEUs of containers, representing a year-on-year decrease of 1.2%.
  • Total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$593.2 billion as at Oct 31. This is US$12.1 billion higher than that at the end of Sep. Foreign currency assets increased by US$11.6 billion and Hong Kong dollar assets increased by US$448 million.
  • Expenditure for the Apr – Oct 2021 period amounted to US$47.1 billion and revenue US$32.8 billion, resulting in a cumulative year-to-date deficit of US$14.3 billion. Hong Kong’s fiscal reserves stood at US$104.6 billion as at Oct 31. 

Promoting intellectual property trading

Hong Kong will capitalize on the support of the National 14th Five-Year Plan in developing into a regional intellectual property (IP) trading center, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the opening session of the Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum (Dec 2). The HKSAR Government will implement a series of initiatives to promote IP trading, including further promoting and developing the “original grant patent” system, exploring with the Mainland authorities on broadening the scope of application of the Patent Cooperation Treaty to cover the “original grant patent” system, and extending other major international IP treaties to Hong Kong. Hong Kong will also strengthen its IP system and industry talent, while boosting IP promotion and collaboration beyond Hong Kong.

Exhibition grant extended

The Government announced today that the Convention & Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme will be extended for six months to June 30, 2022.

The extension will benefit more convention and exhibition activities and enhance the confidence of event organisers in staging activities in Hong Kong.

Established with a commitment of $1.02 billion, the scheme consists of two parts. One part provides organisers with a full subsidy for the venue rental of exhibitions and international conventions at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo starting from October 3, 2020.

The other part of the scheme subsidises exhibitors and major conference participants 50% of the participation fee at events organised by the Trade Development Council starting from November 30, 2020.

As at May 31, it had subsidised 31 exhibitions, involving a total subsidy of about $61 million.

CS highlights HK’s unique strengths

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung today introduced Hong Kong’s strong fundamentals and unique advantages under “one country, two systems” to more than 200 people from the business community in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states.

The Reconnect: Hong Kong – ASEAN Partnership webinar updated participants on the latest social and economic developments in Hong Kong, and the opportunities and benefits presented to enterprises in ASEAN.

Mr Cheung noted that ASEAN has been Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner for 10 years in a row since 2010. The Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Agreement, which both came into full force in February, also reflect the significant economic connections between both sides.

The Chief Secretary expressed his confidence in Hong Kong’s future development, pointing out that the two significant decisions of the National People’s Congress on national security legislation and improving Hong Kong’s electoral system have put Hong Kong back on the right track and ensured its long-term stability and prosperity.

He emphasised that with the full support of the Central People’s Government as stated in the 14th Five-Year Plan, investors from ASEAN will be able to benefit from Hong Kong’s unlimited development potential.

He invited the ASEAN business community to tap into the enormous opportunities and strengthen its business ties with Hong Kong.

Mr Cheung also spoke with participants on Hong Kong’s experience and strategy in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing questions from participants, Mr Cheung said Hong Kong has a keen interest in joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership at the earliest appropriate time.

Given its unique advantages, Hong Kong’s accession to the partnership will further deepen regional economic integration and co-operation for the prosperity of the region, he added.

The webinar was organised by the three Hong Kong Economic & Trade Offices in ASEAN, located in Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore, together with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Thai-Hong Kong Trade Association.

Helpers urged to get vaccinated

The Labour Department today said it conducted operations at popular foreign domestic helper (FDH) gathering places on June 13 and 14 to remind them to comply with social distancing measures and urged them to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The operations were jointly conducted with Police, the Home Affairs Department and the Leisure & Cultural Services Department, covering places including Tamar Park in Admiralty, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Central and Lai Chi Kok Park.

During the same period, the Labour Department also conducted inspections in these places to check whether the helpers had complied with the compulsory testing notice.

As at 3pm today, a total of 2,268 helpers were checked and the majority of them had complied with the compulsory testing notice. A compulsory testing order was issued for the 20 who did not comply with the notice.

There were 46 helpers whose testing or vaccination records required further verification and the department will follow up.

In view of the threat posed by the mutant strain, the Government appeals to all FDHs to get vaccinated to protect their own health and the health of their employers’ families and others.

Webinar promotes trade zones

The Government today held a webinar for Hong Kong enterprises which are interested in expanding their businesses in the Mainland’s overseas Economic & Trade Co-operation Zones in Malaysia and Thailand.

The webinar was organised by the Commerce & Economic Development Bureau’s Belt & Road Office and the Commercial Office of the Economic Affairs Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

It aims to enhance participants’ understanding of prevailing local investment policies, facilities and supporting services, as well as preferential terms of the zones concerned. 

Around 400 people registered to participate in today’s webinar which introduced the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park in Malaysia and the Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone in Thailand.

Commissioner for Belt & Road Denis Yip spoke at the webinar with Economic Affairs Department Deputy Director-General and Commercial Office of the Liaison Office Head Liu Yajun.

Mr Yip pointed out that many enterprises had been re-examining their modes of operation and production, and creating new business opportunities in the face of external challenges brought by the uncertainties in the global economy and geopolitical changes.

The Mainland’s overseas zones provide enterprises with an ideal entry point to the Belt & Road, he added.

Mr Yip noted the five zones identified in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia could represent a better fit for Hong Kong enterprises.

The bureau has been discussing with the Ministry of Commerce possible facilitation measures for Hong Kong enterprises and ways to help them develop their businesses in the zones on a pilot basis.

Ministry of Commerce Department of Outward Investment & Economic Cooperation Deputy Director General Li Yongjun introduced the overall situation of overseas zones.

The management of the two zones in Malaysia and Thailand briefed the participants on their state of play, while representatives of enterprises from the zones shared their local investment experiences.

The second webinar will be held on June 22 to introduce the three zones in Indonesia and Cambodia.

HK’s strengths highlighted to India

Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui today highlighted Hong Kong’s unique advantages as an international financial centre to about 200 business leaders and senior company representatives from India at a webinar.

He also introduced the boundless opportunities the city can offer to the Indian business community.

India has an enormous market potential for the world and was Hong Kong’s ninth largest trading partner last year.

With the Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement between the two places having taken effect from 2018, Hong Kong’s competitive edge in a wide range of financial services can complement Indian companies’ business development strategies.

During the webinar, Mr Hui introduced Hong Kong’s institutional strengths that underline the city’s financial market resilience despite challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “The vigour and vibrancy of the Hong Kong economy is not only demonstrated by the remarkable economic recovery in the first quarter of this year, but also by the substantial initial public offering funds raised and continued capital inflow to our financial market.”

Mr Hui added that the International Monetary Fund’s report released last week reaffirmed Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre with a resilient financial system, sound macroeconomic and prudential policies, and robust regulatory and supervisory frameworks.

He also pointed out that the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has presented immense new opportunities for Hong Kong’s financial services sector, which has been serving effectively as a two-way gateway connecting the Mainland and international markets.

The cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect Scheme to be launched soon will expand the financial sector’s customer base and boost Hong Kong’s role in managing the flow of capital in and out of the Mainland, the treasury chief noted.

Additionally, the Government has put in place a set of strategies, among which the fintech ecosystem will be nurtured with funding and policies.

Mr Hui welcomed Indian financial services companies including fintech startups to explore Hong Kong’s vast business potential and the composite advantages.

The webinar was co-organised by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in Singapore and Invest Hong Kong. It received an overwhelming response from Indian companies from a wide array of sectors, including the financial services and consulting sectors.

HK stance on trade dispute explained

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today filed its first submission to a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to consider the dispute raised by the city in respect to the violation of WTO rules by the US’ requirement on origin marking for Hong Kong products. The submission explains in detail that the US’ requirement, amongst others, unlawfully discriminates against goods of Hong Kong origin, and is inconsistent with multiple WTO covered agreements, including the Agreement on Rules of Origin, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade 1994.

Click here for more details.

App update aids jab record retrieval

The updated LeaveHomeSafe mobile app lets users store their vaccination and testing records, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer announced today.

Under the vaccine bubble, there are more opportunities for citizens to present their COVID-19 vaccination records. The newly added Electronic Vaccination & Testing Record function in the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app’s version 2.0 allows users to scan and save the QR codes from their paper or electronic vaccination records for easy retrieval. The new function can also save electronic testing records.

Click here for more details

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