November 10-16, 2017

Business 

Chief Executive attends APEC summit

Hong Kong is committed to free trade and will continue to formulate policy initiatives that will help people benefit from free trade and economic development, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a discussion session of the APEC CEO Summit in Vietnam (Nov 9). Taking part in the APEC Women Political Leaders Roundtable, Mrs Lam shared her governing experience and the work on the promotion of equal opportunities for women. The other speakers were President of Chile Veronica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern. Meanwhile, Mrs Lam held bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha.

First visit by Australian Prime Minister in more than 30 years

Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull visited Hong Kong on Nov 12, making him the first incumbent Australian PM to visit the city in more than 30 years. Welcoming him and the start of negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and Australia, Mrs Lam said she was pleased that both sides had been working proactively with a view to taking the close trade and investment relations to a new height. Noting that Hong Kong is keen to develop creative industries, Mrs Lam expressed the hope of closer co-operation in the field. Discussions have been ongoing for Melbourne to be the next partner city in the Business of Design Week 2018.

Monetary Affairs

World’s first DLT-based interface in the pipeline

A cross-border infrastructure based on DLT (distributed ledger technology), the GTCN (Global Trade Connectivity Network) linking the digital trade finance platforms in Singapore and Hong Kong will probably be the first of its kind in the world when it goes live in early 2019. The GTCN will remove the inefficiency and risks of fraud inherent in the paper-based system in trade finance. It also has the potential to expand in the region and globally. It’s the first joint innovation initiative under the co-operation agreement signed by the heads of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore last month.

Innovation & Technology

Connecting the dots for re-industrialisation

Hong Kong is progressing steadily on I&T development in various aspects, said Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas W Yang at an industry and university collaboration forum (Nov 14). A new US$64 million Technology Talent Scheme is being launched. Soon to be launched is a new Postdoctoral Hub programme to provide funding subsidy for organisations to recruit postdoctoral talents for R&D. The new Inno Space set up at the Hong Kong Productivity Council is providing workspace and technical support for start-ups. On infrastructure, a Data Technology Hub and an Advanced Manufacturing Centre to be completed in the next 5 years will serve as a focal point of intelligent manufacturing, enhancing capacity in data sciences and related industries. All these will be coupled with the already announced “super tax deduction” (giving the first US$256,410 of eligible R&D expenditure a 300 per cent tax deduction, with the remainder at 200 per cent) to encourage private investment.

Economy

Performance continues to improve in Q3

The economy expanded in the third quarter of 2017, growing 3.6% year-on-year. This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of economic expansion. External demand stayed vibrant, supported by the broadly benign global economic conditions. Domestic demand attained solid growth, led by the brisk expansion of private consumption. The economic growth for 2017 is now forecast at 3.7%, slightly higher than originally forecast announced in August. The labor market remained in a state of full employment, with the jobless rate at a low of 3.1%. Tourist arrivals registered 14.8 million in the third quarter, up 1.8% year-on-year.

Basic Law

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems.”

Q: Are Mainland laws applicable to Hong Kong?

A: Generally speaking, national laws of mainland China are not applied in the HKSAR. Article 18(2), (3) and (4) of the Basic Law provide for application of national laws in the HKSAR. Such national laws as applied in the HKSAR shall be listed in Annex III to the Basic Law. Currently, a total of 12 national laws are so listed in Annex III, all of which concern matters outside the limits of the HKSAR's autonomy. They include national laws on the capital, calendar, national anthem, national flag, national day, national emblem, territorial sea and contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, nationality, garrisoning, diplomatic and consular privileges and immunities as well as judicial immunity of assets of foreign central banks. (BL Article 18; Annex III)

Hong Kong Basic Law

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