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DECEMBER 6 - 12, 2022

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Hong Kong welcomes WTO rulings

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government welcomed the rulings made (December 9) by the panels established under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body that the US’ imposition of global tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is inconsistent with WTO rules. The HKSAR Government said the panels’ rulings clearly showed that the US abused the concept of national security with the sole aim to politicize economic and trade issues. As a staunch supporter of the rules-based multilateral trading system, it strongly urged the US to fulfil its obligations as a WTO Member and withdraw the erroneous measures as early as possible. In a meeting (December 10) with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan said Hong Kong has been a firm supporter of a rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at the core and has been actively promoting and forging free trade. He said Hong Kong supports the reform of the WTO in the right direction, including the restoration of a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system as soon as possible.

Anti-money laundering bill passed

The passage (December 7) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Bill 2022 by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council reinforces the city’s status as an international financial center by enhancing its regulatory regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. It also formulates a comprehensive and balanced regulatory framework for virtual asset (VA) activities to protect investors. Under the amended Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance, any person who engages in VA exchange business is required to apply for a license from the Securities and Futures Commission. The Ordinance will take effect on April 1, 2023.


Visa facilitation measure further extended

In view of the circumstances under the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong is extending the facilitation measure that allows eligible non-permanent residents, who are outside Hong Kong, to apply for an extension of stay, to June 30, 2023. The said facilitation measure is originally set to expire on December 31. Eligible non-permanent residents who are admitted into Hong Kong and whose limit of stay is about to expire within four weeks, but are presently outside Hong Kong, may now apply for an extension of stay under the measure.


US premiere of Hong Kong Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet set for January

Hong Kong Ballet (HKB) will present the US premiere of its reimagined Romeo + Juliet at New York City Center on January 13 and 14. With original choreography by HKB’s Artistic Director Septime Webre, this timeless tale of star-crossed lovers is set in 1960s Hong Kong, offering a stunning visual feast of intense street battles to elegant dancers in sumptuous cheongsams, allowing audiences to explore Hong Kong’s culture from a different perspective. Accompanied by Prokofiev’s dramatic score, this adaption is especially relevant for contemporary audiences as it fuses dance and drama against a backdrop of a world in flux. Book your tickets now! 

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Environment chief elected to C40 Steering Committee

Elected to the Steering Committee of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Environment & Ecology Tse Chin-wan said he is looking forward to working closely with the fellow C40 cities to overcome the climate crisis. Hong Kong has been an active participant in global efforts to combat climate change and is among the earliest cities in Asia taking actions to fight global warming. Hong Kong joined C40 as a member city in October 2007 and has been a member of the steering committee since 2011.

HKSAR Government refutes US statement

The HKSAR Government strongly opposed (December 10) the false and misleading statement of the US Department of State against the sentence of the court of the HKSAR laid down in accordance with the law on the fraud case involving Lai Chee-ying. The case concerned is a fraud case and has nothing to do with freedom of the press or freedom of speech.


Business sentiments dampened

Overall business sentiment among Hong Kong’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remained generally soft, due to deteriorating global economic outlook and tightened financial conditions. The current diffusion index on business receipts amongst SMEs fell to 44 in November, from October’s 45.5. The current diffusion indexes on business receipts for many surveyed sectors fell by varying degrees in November 2022 as compared with the previous month, particularly for restaurants, and business services. 

Foreign currency reserves at US$423.2 billion 

Hong Kong’s foreign currency reserves rose to US$423.2 billion in November from US$417.2 billion in the previous month. This represents over five times the currency in circulation or about 42% of Hong Kong dollar M3. There were no unsettled foreign exchange contracts at end-November and end-October.

Increase in external direct investment

Hong Kong’s total direct investment (DI) inflow and total DI outflow saw increases of 17% and 12.1% respectively in 2021, partly due to the visible recovery of the global and local economies during the year. A net DI inflow of US$43.58 billion was recorded in 2021, up 29% year-on-year. The stocks of overall inward and outward DI were substantial at end-2021, at US$2,157.2 billion and US$2199.3 billion (586% and 598% of GDP) respectively, making Hong Kong one of the world’s major destinations for and sources of external DI. It is a further testament to the city’s status as a prominent international financial center and commercial hub and as a base for multinational corporations to manage their investments and businesses around the world.


Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It provides the guarantees to maintain our existing way of life, including socio-economic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas. The Basic Law was put into effect on July 1, 1997.


Q: Do Hong Kong residents have the right to vote and to stand for election?

A: Persuant to Article 26 of the BL, permanent residents of Hong Kong have the right to vote and stand for elections in accordance with law. The National People’s Congress (NPC) made the Decision on Improving the Electoral System of the HKSAR (the Decision) on 11 March 2021 and laid down the fundamental principles for amending Annexes I and II to the Basic Law, including “upholding HKSAR permanent residents’ right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with law”. The Standing Committee of the NPC had made careful consideration and balance of these rights in amending Annexes I and II to the Basic Law, in order to establish a political structure that upholds the “one country, two systems” principle, reflects the actual situation of Hong Kong and ensures “patriots administering Hong Kong”. It should be noted that the right to vote as safeguarded by Article 26 of the Basic Law should be construed with other relevant provisions in the Basic Law in their entirety, in particular Articles 45, 68 as well as Annexes I and II of the Basic Law. Articles 45 and 68 provide that the methods for selecting the Chief Executive and forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the “actual situation in the HKSAR” and in accordance with the “principle of gradual and orderly progress”. The design of electoral system and the right to vote should be implemented in the light of the actual situation in the HKSAR. (BL Articles 26; 45; 68; Annexes I and II)

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