MAY 10 - 16, 2022
Economy contracts 4% in Q1 
The Hong Kong economy saw a marked deterioration in Q1 2022, as real GDP contracted by 4% from a year earlier, reversing the growth trend from 2021. Total exports of goods and services fell by 4.5% and 2.8% respectively, year-on-year in real terms in Q1. Exports to the Mainland experienced a sharp fall, while those to the US, EU and other major markets in Asia posted moderate growth. Overall investment expenditure saw an increased year-on-year decline of 8.4% in real terms as business sentiment worsened. The labor market was also under severe pressure during the same period, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 5%, reversing the downtrend since early 2021. Government economist Adolph Leung cited slower growth in external demand, cross-boundary transportation disruptions, a fifth wave of COVID-19 and resultant control measures as the factors behind the GDP contraction. Given the worse-than-expected performance in Q1, and taking into account the deteriorating export outlook against the expected gradual revival of local economic activities, the real GDP growth forecast for 2022 has been revised downward to 1%-2%, from 2%-3.5% as announced earlier in the 2022-23 Budget.
Business sentiment improves in April
Business sentiment among small and medium-sized enterprises in all sectors improved visibly in April, particularly in the retail trade and restaurants sectors, following the easing of COVID-19 situation in the city, progressive relaxation of social distancing measures, and the new round of Consumption Voucher Scheme. While global economic prospects have worsened due to elevated inflation, heightened geopolitical tensions and monetary policy tightening by major central banks, the receding local epidemic situation and the various government support measures will render support for local business sentiment in the near term. 
Hong Kong Still Matters Business Seminar concluded
Hong Kong Still Matters Business Seminar concluded successfully last Friday (May 13), drawing over 160 participants in person from Atlanta, GA and online from around the world. The business seminar was jointly organized by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta and Metro Atlanta Chamber. Keynote speakers included Mr Stephen Phillips, Hong Kong’s Director-General of Investment Promotion; Ambassador Kurt Tong, Partner at The Asia Group and former US Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau; and Dr Yawei Liu, Director of China Program of The Carter Center. Mr Stephen Phillips highlighted the opportunities brought by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) development and the National 14th Five-Year Plan for the sectors of financial and professional services, innovation and technology, as well as lifestyle and creative industries. He also pointed out that the increasing connection between the GBA and ASEAN, together with the Belt and Road Initiative, will further drive new opportunities in Hong Kong. The business seminar was moderated by Mr Fred Teng, President of America China Public Affairs Institute.  
3rd COVID-19 jab rate hits 50%
Hong Kong reported that half of the city’s population aged 12 or above has received their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As of May 12, the COVID-19 vaccination rates of people aged three or above for the first and second doses are 91.5% and 85.6% in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government urges citizens to have a third dose of vaccine to enhance their protection against COVID-19 and to prepare for the implementation of stage three of the Vaccine Pass on May 31. By that time, all applicable individuals (excepting certain special groups) will need to have received a third dose. Starting May 5, on entering Hong Kong, inbound travelers will be issued with a QR code as their vaccination record and a Provisional Vaccine Pass for use in the city. 
Home-grown dispute resolution center recognized
The Electronic Business Related Arbitration & Mediation International Online Dispute Resolution Centre (eBRAM Centre) has been officially listed as one of the very first batch of service providers under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Collaborative Framework for Online Dispute Resolution of Cross-Border Business-to-Business Disputes. Sharing the good news on her blog (May 15), Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, SC, said this encouraging international development, together with the ongoing work undertaken by the Inclusive Global Legal Innovation Platform on Online Dispute Resolution, will further contribute to the international development and usage of online dispute resolution, which will, at the same time, strengthen the position of Hong Kong as a leading international dispute resolution center. eBRAM Centre was set up in 2018 with the support of the Asian Academy of International Law Ltd, Hong Kong Bar Association, and The Law Society of Hong Kong.
G7 and EU statements refuted
The HKSAR Government strongly refuted (May 10) the two statements on the sixth-term Chief Executive Election in Hong Kong made respectively by the European Union (EU) as well as G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the EU. A HKSAR Government spokesman said elections under the improved electoral system, including the sixth-term Chief Executive Election on May 8, have been conducted in strict accordance with the laws and in an open, fair and honest manner. Any allegation that the improved electoral system has weakened democracy in the governance of Hong Kong is misguided.
Hong Kong Arts Month
Following the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival in March, Hong Kong will once again be at the epicenter of the art world! Throughout the months of May and June, art lovers around the world can experience three world-class international art events that are taking place in the city, including Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Central, and French May. Join us to reconnect with the art and vitality of Hong Kong!
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 Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy?
A: In accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the National People’s Congress enacted the Basic Law, authorizing the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication, in accordance with the Basic Law. The Central People’s Government (CPG) shall be responsible for the foreign affairs and defense relating to the HKSAR and other matters authorized by the Basic Law. It also authorizes the HKSAR to conduct relevant external affairs on its own in accordance with the Basic Law. The HKSAR shall have independent finances and shall use its financial revenues exclusively for its own purposes. We are not required to pay taxes to the CPG. (BL Preamble and BL Articles 2; 12-17; 19; 22; 106)

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