JUNE 29 - JULY 6, 2021
Hong Kong welcomes consensus on BEPS 2.0 framework
Hong Kong, joins 129 global jurisdictions, in welcoming (Jul 2) the framework for international tax reform (commonly referred to as BEPS 2.0) to ensure a fairer distribution of taxing rights in respect of profits of large multinational enterprises and to set a global minimum tax rate. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said Hong Kong, as an international financial and commercial center, has all along supported international efforts to enhance tax transparency and combat tax evasion, and has adopted corresponding measures, adding that small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong would not be affected by the BEPS 2.0 package.
BIS to step up its collaboration with Asia
Financial Secretary Paul Chan welcomes (Jul 6) the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to step up its collaboration efforts with central banks in Asia. The BIS Asian Office in Hong Kong aims to strengthen the BIS’s role as a financial service provider to the region’s central banks and contribute to high-level policy discussions through research contributions and targeted analytical work to support the evolving needs of central banks in Asia. “Hong Kong has much to offer in a more open and multilateral system. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with institutions like the Bank, which offers both cutting-edge analysis and an innovative mindset,” said Mr Chan.
Hong Kong drives regional FDI uptick
In 2020, foreign direct investment (FDI) to Hong Kong surged by 62% year-on-year to US$119 billion, the 3rd largest FDI recipient in the world behind the United States and Mainland China respectively. Developing Asia is the only region that recorded FDI growth in 2020 amid global FDI contraction, and the uptick in Asia has been mostly driven by the increase in FDI flows to Hong Kong, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s World Investment Report 2021.  
Leading hub for family offices in Asia
A dedicated FamilyOfficeHK team has been set up (Jun 29) by Invest Hong Kong to promote family office business in the city. Acting Financial Secretary Christopher Hui said Hong Kong is the natural home for Asia's family-office business. "We are the only city in the world that offers a secure, dynamic environment for business and unrivalled access to the Chinese economy," he said. To attract even more family offices, Hong Kong has set up a task force to review relevant tax arrangement. It is also looking at creating a mechanism to help foreign funds re-domicile in Hong Kong. Legislation offering tax concessions for carried interest of private equity and venture capital funds was passed in April this year.
Sixth batch of Silver Bond launches
Hong Kong has launched the sixth batch of Silver Bond under the Government Bond Program for subscription by eligible Hong Kong residents. The target issuance size of this new batch of Silver Bond has substantially increased from US$1.2 billion to US$3 billion, while the eligible age has been lowered from 65 to 60. Lowering the eligible age will not only allow more citizens to benefit from steady returns, but it will also encourage the financial sector to tap into the immense potential of the silver market. The subscription period runs from Jul 20 to 30. The bond will be issued on Aug 10.
Air travel arrangement with Singapore under discussion
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (Jul 6) Hong Kong is working closely with Singapore to revive the air travel bubble arrangement between the two places. Noting that Singapore is going to implement a new anti-epidemic strategy, she said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will study whether it will affect the arrangements, adding that COVID-19 vaccination is another factor to be taken into account. To date (Jul 6), more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to the public in Hong Kong, with more than 1.6 million people fully vaccinated. 
New clean air plan unveiled
The HKSAR Government announced (Jun 29) the Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035, setting out a goal for the city’s air quality to be on par with major international cities by 2035. Secretary for the Environment KS Wong said the target in the long run is to meet the ultimate standards of the World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines. The new plan covers six major areas, including green transport, liveable environment, comprehensive emissions reduction, clean energy, scientific management and regional collaboration. Other objectives include maximizing the use of local renewable energy and using more natural gas as a transitional energy for power generation. Mr Wong said Hong Kong’s Air Quality Objectives will be reviewed every five years to progressively tighten the targets.
Students win informatics medals
A team of four Hong Kong students has won one gold and three silver medals at the 33rd International Olympiad in Informatics (Jun 19 – 25). Congratulating the team on their excellent performance, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said this is Hong Kong’s best record in the competition since 1992. The olympiad, held online due to the COVID-19 epidemic, is the most recognized worldwide computer science competition aimed at secondary students aged 20 or below, with the aim of promoting coding education and nurturing students' computational thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • The HKSAR Government recorded a US$2.6 billion deficit for the two months ending May 31. Expenditure for the period was US$12.4 billion and revenue was US$9.7 billion. Fiscal reserves stood at US$116.2 billion at the end of May.

  • The value of total retail sales in May, provisionally estimated at US$3.7 billion, rose 10.5% year-on-year, with online sales accounting for 7.4% of the total value. Provisionally estimated at US$282 million, the value of online retail sales increased 53.1% year-on-year. The increase remained far below the pre-pandemic level as inbound tourism remained frozen amid travel restrictions worldwide.
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: 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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