JUNE 8 - 14, 2021
IMF affirms Hong Kong’s financial stability
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest assessment report (Jun 9), reaffirms Hong Kong’s position as an international financial center with a resilient financial system, sound macroeconomic and prudential policies, and robust regulatory and supervisory frameworks. The IMF commented that Hong Kong’s macroeconomic and prudential policies have provided it with important buffers to cope with the current economic slowdown and future shocks. Underpinned by large foreign exchange reserves, Hong Kong’s Linked Exchange Rate System has continued to support financial stability, noted the report.
Fintech 2025 strategy unveiled
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) unveiled (Jun 8) its Fintech 2025 strategy which aims to encourage the financial sector to adopt technology comprehensively by 2025, and provide fair and efficient financial services. Pointing out that fintech is a key growth engine for the financial industry in the post-pandemic era, Chief Executive of HKMA Eddie Yue said the strategy comprises five focus areas: all banks go fintech, future-proofing Hong Kong for central bank digital currencies, creating the next-generation data infrastructure, expanding the fintech-savvy workforce, and nurturing the ecosystem with funding and policies.
Subsidy program for convention and exhibition industry extended
The Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme will be extended for six months to June 30, 2022 to benefit more convention and exhibition activities and to enhance confidence of event organizers in staging such activities in Hong Kong. Under the program, companies will be subsidized 50% of its participation fee per each booth in exhibitions organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, subject to a cap of US$1,282 (HK$10,000) and US$12,820 (HK$100,000) for each fair. The subsidy program, set up by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government with a commitment of US$130 million, has been well received by the industry since its launch. As at May 31, it had subsidized 31 exhibitions, involving a total subsidy of about US$7.8 million.
Travel bubble plan to be reviewed
Hong Kong and Singapore will review in early July the target date of inaugural flights under the air travel bubble between the two places and make an announcement on the way forward. The two governments consider it prudent to keep the developments under review to ensure the epidemic situation is sufficiently stable before deciding on the way forward for the plan. Both governments remain strongly committed to launching the air travel bubble with a view to resuming air travel between the two regional aviation hubs and international cities in a gradual and orderly manner.
Social distancing rules maintained
Hong Kong’s social distancing measures have been extended until Jun 23. The requirements and restrictions applicable to catering businesses and scheduled premises, as well as the requirements for group gatherings and mask wearing will be maintained. Noting that local cases with the N501Y mutant strain have been recorded recently and the source of infection has yet to be identified, the Food & Health Bureau said it is not appropriate to relax social distancing measures at the moment. The HKSAR Government will continue to adjust social distancing measures under the vaccine bubble principle. To date (Jun 14), almost 3 million doses of vaccines have been administered under the vaccination program, with over 1.2 million people fully vaccinated.
Air quality improves
The air quality in the Pearl River Delta has continuously improved in recent years, according to the latest 2020 monitoring report (Jun 10) by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network. The average annual concentration levels of pollutants decreased in the delta region compared with 2006. This includes an 86% drop in sulfur dioxide, a 49% reduction in respirable suspended particulates and a 43% decrease in nitrogen dioxide. Compared with 2015, the average annual concentration levels of carbon monoxide and fine suspended particulates also fell 16% and 31%. 
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: Are Mainland laws applicable to Hong Kong?
A: Generally speaking, national laws of the 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 13 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)

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