February 17 - 22, 2021
COVID-19 vaccination plan unveiled
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will launch the citywide COVID-19 Vaccination Program, following the Sinovac vaccine’s arrival in Hong Kong earlier. Five priority groups may make an appointment via the online booking system starting Feb 23. They include healthcare staff and staff involved in anti-epidemic work, people aged 60 or above, residents and staff of residential care homes for the elderly and disabled, people providing essential public services as well as those providing cross-boundary transport or working at control points and ports. The priority groups can receive the Sinovac vaccine at five Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) and the general out-patient clinics of the Hospital Authority starting from Feb 26. To tie in with the arrival of the Fosun Pharma/BioNTech vaccine in end-February, more CVCs will gradually commence operations. On Feb 22, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and a number of Principal Officials took the lead to receive their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine. She appealed to the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 early to protect themselves and others, with a view to safeguarding public health in the community and restoring the local economy and people's livelihood to normal.
Secretary shares insights on trade landscape
Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau shared his insights on the trade landscape under the COVID-19 pandemic at Asia Trade Week 2021 (Feb 22). During the online interview, Mr Yau said that the pandemic has brought an uneven impact on the trade in Hong Kong. Commodity trade has not been much affected but trade in services has taken a heavier toll. Some areas such as financial services and information and technology have achieved robust growth. Citing the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Mr Yau said that high-standard free trade agreements could strengthen the multilateral trading system, enhance regional trade co-operation and remove trade barriers. He emphasized that Hong Kong is ready to join the RCEP, pointing out that among the 15 economies of the RCEP, the city has direct free trade agreements with 13 members.
Arbitration law changes proposed
The HKSAR Government will introduce legislative amendments to the Arbitration Ordinance, which aims to fully implement the Supplemental Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the HKSAR signed last year. This would bring it more fully in line with the current practice of international arbitration, including aligning the definition of the scope of arbitral awards with the prevalent international approach of “seat of arbitration” under the New York Convention. It also allows parties to make simultaneous applications to both the courts of the Mainland and the HKSAR for enforcement of an arbitral award. The implementation of the supplemental arrangement in full will be conducive to the promotion of the development of Hong Kong’s legal and dispute resolution services. It will also further enhance Hong Kong’s status as an international legal hub for legal, deal-making and dispute resolution services. The bill, which was gazetted on Feb 19, will be introduced into the Legislative Council on Feb 24.
49th Hong Kong Arts Festival to open on Feb 27
Remember the stunning performance video Dragon Phoenix by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO)? Don’t miss the opportunity to view their next performance for free online when you register for the 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF). With the reopening of performance venues in Hong Kong, this festival will kick off with the HKCO performing Music About China. This performance will be presented as scheduled on Feb 27 in-venue at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, as well as online. Adopting the theme “Separate Together,” the upcoming HKAF combines in-venue performances with a notably innovative program of online live shows. In addition to the opening performance by the HKCO, you can also enjoy a number of free performances from world-class troupes through HKAF’s online video platform, including performances by the National Theatre Brno from the Czech Republic, the Wiener Symphoniker and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.
  • Overall consumer prices in January rose 1.9% year-on-year, after a decrease of 0.7% in December. Netting out the effects of all the Government’s one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of change in January’s underlying inflation rate was -0.5%, smaller than December’s 0%.

  • Unemployment rate rose to 7% for the Nov – Jan period from 6.6% in the previous three-month period. The underemployment rate also increased by 0.4 percentage points to 3.8% during the period. Looking ahead, the labor market will remain under pressure in the near term as it will take time for economic activities to return to normal, following the easing of the fourth wave of the local epidemic.
Hong Kong and its Basic Law
The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the HKSAR. Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems”.

Q: Does the HKSAR enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers?
A: Yes. The National People’s Congress authorizes the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication. The Chief Executive heads the HKSAR and the Government of the HKSAR. The Executive Council, consisting of members appointed by the Chief Executive, assists the Chief Executive in policy making. The legislature, which is constituted by election, enacts legislation, while the judiciary exercises judicial power independently free from interference. (BL Articles 2; 16; 17; 19; 43; 54; 55; 66; 68; 73; 85)
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