DEC 14 - 20, 2021
Inbound travel rules tightened
In view of the rapidly worsening COVID-19 pandemic situation due to the Omicron variant, Hong Kong is implementing a series of measures to further guard against the importation of cases. From Dec 24, all Hong Kong-bound passengers have to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 48 hours prior to flight departure. Currently, only fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents are allowed to board flights from the US for Hong Kong. They are required to undergo compulsory quarantine at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre for the first four days upon their arrival. They would then finish the remaining 17 days of compulsory quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel. They are also required to comply with compulsory testing requirements. In addition, the passenger flight suspension mechanism has also been tightened. If four or more passengers have been confirmed to have COVID-19 by arrival tests on any flights from the same original port of the same airline within seven-day, the route of the airline concerned will be suspended for 14 days.
Hong Kong ranks highly in global talent and I&T
Hong Kong emerges top in Asia and number 11 in the world in the 2021 IMD World Talent Ranking of 64 economies. The index is based on three main factors: investment and development, appeal and readiness. Hong Kong ranks number one in “readiness”, which assesses the availability of skills and competencies in the talent pool. Hong Kong also ranks fifth in the world in the latest Smart Centers Index, compiled by London-based think-tank Z/Yen Group, which rates the innovation and technology offerings of leading commercial and financial centers across the world.
Advancing green and sustainable finance development
Hong Kong will take forward the recommendations of the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group to advance as a leader in green and sustainable finance (GSF) and help the financial ecosystem's transition towards carbon neutrality. These include developing a common GSF qualification framework, providing training and support and enhancing access to and availability of GSF data and data analytics tool. Information portals on GSF data and resources will also be launched in due course. The Group will further explore how Hong Kong may develop into a regional carbon trading center, including the development of a global high-quality voluntary carbon market.
Opportunities for legal and dispute resolution sectors
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, SC, said the Department of Justice is exploring the feasibility of allowing wholly-owned Hong Kong enterprises in Shenzhen to adopt Hong Kong law and choose for arbitration to be seated in Hong Kong. Speaking at a seminar (Dec 15), she added that the implementation of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods next year will also help the legal sector tap into the opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and places along the Belt and Road. Ms Cheng encouraged the legal and dispute resolution sectors in Hong Kong to seize the immense opportunities brought by national development. 
Strengthening Hong Kong-Chicago ties
In her first official visit (Dec 16 – 17) to Chicago, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York Candy Nip met with government officials and business executives. She gave an update on the latest developments in Hong Kong and reaffirmed the office’s commitment to strengthen economic, trade, and cultural ties between Hong Kong and Chicago and other areas of Illinois. Speaking at the holiday reception of the Hong Kong Business Association of the Midwest, Ms Nip highlighted the business opportunities Hong Kong offers for US companies, underpinned by the city’s unique advantages in national development. 

New swimming world record set
Hong Kong’s double Olympic silver medalist Siobhan Bernadette Haughey has made another swimming history for the city by shattering the 200-meter freestyle world record (Dec 16) at the short course FINA World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi. Haughey also won her second gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle race (Dec 18), setting a championship record. (Photo credit: FINA World Swimming Championships)
Hong Kong wins 17 prizes at technology awards
Hong Kong won six Winner and 11 Merit awards at the 20th Asia Pacific Information & Communications Technology Alliance (APICTA) Awards (Dec 16), emerging with the highest number of Winner awards among the 14 competing member economies. These include two Government-led anti-epidemic entries (“Achieving Zero-COVID with the Integrated Hong Kong Digital Health Platform” and “StayHomeSafe home quarantine monitoring system”) proving that the proactive use of innovation and technology has played a pivotal role in the fight against the epidemic in Hong Kong. The APICTA Awards is an international awards program held annually by APICTA, which comprises 16 member economies in the Asia Pacific region. 
Stellar results at international Olympiad
A team of eight high school students from Hong Kong achieved stellar results in the 6th International Olympiad of Metropolises (Dec 6-13). With a haul of a silver medal in the team competition and seven individual medals (four gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal), this made the best ever results for the city in this tournament. This is an international competition covering informatics, mathematics, physics and chemistry. Congratulating the team on their outstanding performance, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said this testimony to the hard work and high ability of Hong Kong students in STEM. 
  • Hong Kong’s labor market continued to improve with its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropping to 4.1% in September - November 2021 from 4.3% in the previous three-month period. The underemployment rate also fell to 1.8% from 1.9% in the same comparison period.

  • The volume of Hong Kong’s total exports of goods and imports of goods in October increased by 13.1% and 9.1% respectively, year-on-year. Comparing the first ten months of 2021 with the same period in 2020, the volume of Hong Kong’s total exports of goods and imports of goods grew by 21.3% and 20.1% respectively.

  • Foreign assets, representing the external assets of the Exchange Fund, increased during the month by US$2.2 billion to US$523.9 billion. The Monetary Base amounted to US$271.7 billion.
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: Is Hong Kong a free port and a separate customs territory?
A: The HKSAR is a separate customs territory. The HKSAR, using the name “Hong Kong, China”, is a member in its own right of the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization. Ships of all nations enjoy access to the ports of the HKSAR, which is a free port, in accordance with the laws of the Region. Export quotas, tariff preferences and other similar arrangements, which are obtained or made by the HKSAR or which were obtained or made and remain valid, shall be enjoyed exclusively by Hong Kong. (BL Articles 114; 116; 126)

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