March 30 - April 5, 2021
Resumption of BioNTech vaccination service
BioNTech vaccination service in Hong Kong resumed on April 5. The service resumption follows an investigation into packaging defects of the vial caps of the vaccine batch supplied to Hong Kong which showed that the problem was only associated with vaccine packaging under transport conditions, while the production process and vaccine quality were found to be intact. Approximately 300,000 doses of the BioNTech vaccine produced in Germany and filled and finished at another plant in the country arrived in Hong Kong on Apr 2. To date (Apr 5), about 577,200 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered for members of the public.
Social distancing measures maintained
Social distancing measures currently in place in Hong Kong will be largely maintained until Apr 14, said Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan (Mar 29). While greatly relaxing the social distancing measures during the Easter holiday may lead to a rebound in infections, some low-risk activities will be resumed to give families a wider choice of activities for the Easter holiday, after careful risk assessment and considering expert advice. Public and private swimming pools reopened on Apr 1 if they complied with various infection control measures. Public beaches also reopened in phases. Capacity in cinemas, theme parks and performance venues increased from 50% to 75%.
New inspection arrangements balanced
The new inspection arrangements for the Companies Register has struck a reasonable balance between continuing to allow public access to the necessary personal information to ascertain the identity of directors and other major officers of companies, and protecting personal privacy, said the Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau (Mar 31). The new inspection arrangements are comparable to those adopted in other overseas common law jurisdictions. All searchers, including the media, will continue to be able to access the information of directors on the register. Such information includes directors’ personal correspondence addresses and partial identification numbers. The availability of other information currently available for inspection on the register will not be hindered in any way. 
Government objects to US reports
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government expressed (Apr 1) strong objection to the remarks contained in the Hong Kong Policy Act Report issued by US State Department. In a statement, the HKSAR Government said the HKSAR is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China and a local administrative region that enjoys a high degree of autonomy under “one country, two systems”. It reiterates that national security is a matter within the purview of the central authorities and enacting laws on national security with extraterritorial effect is also squarely in line with international practice. The statement made it clear that the constitutional duty of judges, in the exercise of their judicial power, is to apply the law and nothing else. Such duty does not change when judges decide cases arising from or involving political controversies. In a separate statement, the HKSAR Government said human rights are fully protected by law in Hong Kong. Safeguarding human rights and freedoms is a constitutional duty of the HKSAR Government. It attaches the utmost importance to and is firmly committed to upholding human rights and various freedoms in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong plays key role in global supply chain
Despite the challenges in the past year, Hong Kong continues to turn in an impressive performance in the logistics sector, playing a key role in the global supply chain. Addressing the Symposium on ASIA-USA Partnership Opportunities (Apr 2), Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York (HKETONY) Candy Nip said Hong Kong, with its prime geographical location, institutional strengths and international connections, remains a robust international aviation and maritime center and a regional logistics hub. The city is set to benefit from regional growth opportunities in Asia along with developments in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Ms Nip also highlighted the various initiatives implemented by the operators at Hong Kong’s airport and seaport in improving the efficiency and reliability in supply chain management. These included the use of GPS trackers, blockchain software, robotics and automated systems to provide real-time information that help move packages through the supply chain. 
Inaugural joint event held
With global economies on track to recovery, Hong Kong’s economy is forecast to grow by 3.5% to 5.5% in real terms in 2021, after a 6.1% contraction said Director of HKETONY Candy Nip, who gave an update on the latest developments in Hong Kong at a virtual networking and business spotlight event (Mar 31). Participants also learned more about upcoming projects and potential business opportunities. This inaugural online event was co-organized by the Hong Kong Association of New York and the Hong Kong Association of Northern California. 
Hong Kong – New York music collaboration debuts online
The HKETONY presents a special online performance of Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio by three Hong Kong students studying in New York’s Manhattan School of Music and two master musicians from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Director of HKETONY Candy Nip said this lively and playful piece written for clarinet, piano and viola is a cross-generational and transcontinental collaboration. “It is also the best testimony that the present challenges cannot stop our young people from pursuing their dreams, and that the friendship between Hong Kong and the United States will not fade away,” she said. The debut can be seen on the dedicated arts and cultural webpage
  • Total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$587.4 billion as at Feb 28. This is US$6 billion higher than that at the end of Jan. Foreign currency assets increased by US$5.6 billion and Hong Kong dollar assets increased by US$397 million. Backing Assets remained unchanged at US$298 billion.

  • The HKSAR Government recorded a US$2.5 billion surplus in February, with expenditure at US$92.6 billion and revenue at US$65.3 billion. The cumulative year-to-date deficit stood at US$24.8 billion after receipt of net proceeds of US$2.4 billion from issuance of green bonds under the Government Green Bond Programme. Fiscal reserves stood at US$123.9 billion.
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: Can Hong Kong conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions or international organizations, and participate in international conferences?
A: Hong Kong plays an active role in the international arena and maintains close contact with its international partners. The HKSAR may under the authorization of the CPG conclude certain agreements with foreign states or regions, or may on its own, using the name “Hong Kong, China”, maintain and develop relations and conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions and relevant international organizations in the appropriate fields. Since Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland, the HKSAR Government, authorized by the CPG, has concluded about 600 bilateral agreements in accordance with the Basic Law, including air services agreements, visa abolition agreements, free trade agreements, and cultural co-operation agreements etc. In addition, the HKSAR may, as members of delegations of the People’s Republic of China, or in such other capacity as may be permitted by the CPG and the international organization or conference concerned, or using the name “Hong Kong, China”, participate in relevant international organizations and conferences. (BL Articles 96; 133; 151; 152; 155)

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