JUNE 2 - 7, 2021
Patent granted under new system
Hong Kong has granted the first standard patent under the original grant patent (OGP) system. Launched in Dec 2019, this new system creates a direct route for innovators to seek standard patent protection in Hong Kong with a maximum term of 20 years, providing an alternative to the existing re-registration route. Hailing this as a milestone in the development of Hong Kong’s patent system and in the city’s innovation and technology development, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said (Jun 5) the fact that a standard patent can be obtained directly in Hong Kong without first going through the registration process outside the city provides a convenient, direct and expeditious route for patent applicants and helps attract and facilitate more such applications. This also demonstrated the efficiency and efficacy of the city’s patent system.
Hong Kong - Mexico trade pact to take effect
The Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (IPPA) between Hong Kong and Mexico will enter into force on Jun 16. Under this IPPA, the two sides undertake to provide investors of the other side with fair, equitable and non-discriminatory treatment of investments; compensation in the event of expropriation of investments; and the right to free transfers abroad of investments and returns. The IPPA also provides for settlement of investment disputes under internationally accepted rules, including arbitration. The agreement with Mexico is the fourth IPPA that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has signed this term. The other three were signed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which have entered into force. Including Mexico, the total number of IPPAs in force between Hong Kong and foreign economies will increase to 22, covering 31 foreign economies.
Hong Kong ready to advance trade initiatives
Speaking at the virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2021 (Jun 5), Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau stressed the importance of restoring cross-border travel as a crucial way to support economic recovery, adding that Hong Kong stands ready to collaborate with other APEC member economies in advancing relevant initiatives while balancing public health considerations. Mr Yau also called on member economies to support the rules-based multilateral trading system and deepen regional economic integration towards the eventual realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. Noting the positive response of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) participating economies towards Hong Kong's proposed accession, Mr Yau said he looks forward to commencing formal dialogues on its early accession when RCEP is ready to take on new partners.
Tremendous opportunities for business
Highlighting the tremendous opportunities presented by the 14th Five-Year Plan, Chief Executive Carrie Lam encouraged businesses to contribute to and benefit from the national blueprint and action agenda. At a Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce webinar (Jun 3), Mrs Lam pointed out that, as set out in the 14th Five-Year Plan, Hong Kong is recognized for its status as an international financial, transportation and trade center, and a center for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, Hong Kong was encouraged to develop as an international aviation hub, an international innovation and technology hub, a regional intellectual property trading center, and a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world. She encouraged international companies and chambers of commerce to leverage Hong Kong’s unique advantages to access the Mainland market and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.
More hotels join quarantine program
Two more hotels will be added to the fourth cycle of the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme, bringing the number of quarantine hotels to 33. The additional hotels are Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Causeway Bay and Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, providing a further 500 rooms for booking by travelers to Hong Kong. A total of about 9,000 rooms will be provided by the 33 hotels during the period from Jun 20 to Aug 31. Together with the blocked off rooms available at some hotels, the number of rooms that can be provided in the fourth cycle will exceed 11,000. The HKSAR Government further increased the supply of quarantine hotel rooms in view of the recent surge in demand for quarantine hotels. It will monitor the situation and decide on further adjustment as necessary.    
Age limit for BioNTech vaccine lowered
Hong Kong has lowered the age limit for receiving the BioNTech vaccine to 12. Having regard to the advice of Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines and taking into consideration the threat to public health posed by COVID-19, the Secretary for Food and Health considered that the benefits of lowering the age limit for receiving the BioNTech vaccine outweigh the risks. This can also protect adolescents from COVID-19 and enable them to resume normal school and daily life as soon as possible. Arrangements for providing the BioNTech vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 15 will be announced in due course. So far (Jun 7), about 2.6 million doses of vaccines have been administered under the vaccination program, with more than 1.1 million people fully vaccinated.
Hong Kong - Global arts and cultural hub
This is the best time for international art galleries and world-renowned artists to expand their presence in Hong Kong, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a webinar (Jun 7) hosted by Art Basel. Mrs Lam noted that Hong Kong, which has all along been an East-meets-West hub for international arts and cultural exchanges, is quickly developing into a major global art trading center. Hong Kong’s competitive edge includes its low and simple tax system, the freedom of expression, a robust intellectual property protection system, and comprehensive private wealth management services available to collectors. In addition, Hong Kong’s global position will be further boosted under the 14th Five-Year Plan. “Given Hong Kong's competitive edge and bright prospects in art and cultural development, and the recent drop in rentals in the commercial property market amid the epidemic, I believe that it is the best time for international art galleries and world-renowned artists to expand their presence in Hong Kong. I welcome you all with open arms,” said Mrs Lam.
Tiny Galaxy Concerts @ Wontonmeen
Explore the beauty of chamber music and the sentiments and quintessence of an old Hong Kong inTiny Galaxy Concerts @ Wontonmeen, an online chamber concert series presented by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and curated in collaboration with Wontonmeen, a hostel located in the vibrant and historical neighborhood of Sham Shui Po. Learn about different composers and their respective works. Leave behind all expectations, and enter this imaginative and intimate space with musicians from the sinfonietta and experience this precious, mesmerizing, wondrously tiny musical galaxy! 
Job opportunities in Greater Bay Area
Overseas Hong Kong students who graduated between 2019 and 2021 are eligible to apply for the Greater Bay Area (GBA) Youth Employment Scheme. The program, which encourages young graduates to leverage opportunities for career advancement in the GBA. Graduates who are employed under this program will receive a monthly salary of US$2,307 or above. Graduates employed in general positions are required to work in GBA Mainland cities for 18 months while those employed in I&T positions are required to work in Hong Kong or GBA Mainland cities for about 6 to 12 months each. As of Jun 4, over 1,300 I&T positions from around 220 companies are available under the program.
Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival goes virtual
Supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York, the 42nd Annual Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will be celebrated virtually this Sunday (Jun 13) at 12 PM. The virtual programs will feature colorful cultural performances by local, national and international groups, greetings from dragon boat racing teams, and memorable moments of races from the past years. Join in the celebration of this traditional Chinese festival and dragon boat racing at the event’s website or YouTube channel.
  • Hong Kong’s total port cargo throughput in the first quarter of 2021 fell by 14% year-on-year to 49.2 million tonnes. During this period, the port handled 4.11 million TEUs of containers, a 0.3% year-on-year increase..

  • Hong Kong’s foreign currency reserves in May rose to US$494.5 billion, from US$490.6 billion in the previous month. The reserve assets represent about seven times the currency in circulation or 47% of Hong Kong dollar M3. There were no unsettled foreign exchange contracts in May.
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: Have the laws previously in force in Hong Kong been maintained?
A: The Basic Law provides that laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law, shall be maintained and adopted as laws of the HKSAR, except for any that contravenes the Basic Law, and subject to any amendment by the HKSAR legislature. (BL Articles 8; 18; 160)

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