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MARCH 28 - APRIL 3, 2023

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Bright Star Award presented to rising talent

Hong Kong’s rising talent, actress Renci Yeung, received (Mar 31) the Bright Star Award from Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago, prior to the centerpiece screening of her latest film “A Guilty Conscience”. Also present at the full-house screening was the film director Jack Ng. Both took part in the post-screening question and answer session. At the award ceremony, the Deputy Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York Erica Lam, congratulated and thanked Yeung for her hard work and dedication to her craft and in promoting Hong Kong films overseas. Another Hong Kong film director Ka Sing Fung presented the North American premiere (Apr 1) of his debut feature film “Lost Love” at the festival.


Inaugural catastrophe bond listing in Hong Kong

Hong Kong welcomed the issuance (Mar 28) of insurance-linked securities (ILS) in the form of a catastrophe bond by the World Bank. With a size of US$350 million, the ILS offer protection against losses related to earthquake risks in Chile over the next three years. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said this is the fourth issuance and the inaugural listing of ILS in Hong Kong, bearing testament to the city’s position as an international financial center and the vibrant development of the Hong Kong insurance industry.

Re-domiciliation proposal mooted

Hong Kong will introduce a company re-domiciliation regime to facilitate overseas companies to re-domicile to Hong Kong seamlessly, so that they may utilize the city’s favorable business environment and professional services. “Our current proposal to introduce a company re-domiciliation regime can meet the market needs by providing a high-speed motorway to facilitate companies making up their minds to move to Hong Kong,” said Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui. The proposals are published in a consultation document that is seeking views on the proposals for a period of two months.


Testing requirements removed

Hong Kong has removed all pre-departure and post-arrival quarantine and testing requirements, effective Apr 1. Vaccination requirement for all inbound travelers coming to Hong Kong has also been lifted though they must pass temperature checks upon arrival. Those found with symptoms will be referred to the Department of Health for further handling (such as transferring to public hospital for further management). More details on the inbound arrangement can be found here.


WhatsApp assistance hotline set up

Hong Kong’s Immigration Department introduced (Apr 3) the 1868 WhatsApp assistance hotline for Hong Kong residents outside the city in distress or in need of assistance to contact its Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit. The current designated WhatsApp hotline +852-5190-8909 for overseas job scams ceases service on the same day. Hong Kong residents outside the city can use the 1868 WhatsApp assistance hotline for assistance by messaging +852-1868, scanning the QR code or clicking the hyperlink. The 1868 WhatsApp assistance hotline is not applicable for general enquiries. For other immigration enquiries, call +852-2824-6111 or send an email.


Exchange Fund amounts to US$533 billion

The total assets of the Hong Kong Exchange Fund amounted to US$533 billion as at Feb 28. This is US$11.6 billion lower than that at end-Jan. Foreign currency assets fell by US$9.89 billion and Hong Kong dollar assets decreased by US$1.75 billion. The drop in foreign currency assets was mainly due to the mark-to-market revaluation on investments, the sale of US dollars under the Currency Board arrangements and the reduction in the month-end balances of unsettled purchase of securities. Separately, a surplus of US$2.1 billion was recorded in February. Expenditure for the 11-month period (Apr 2022 – Feb 2023) amounted to US$90.06 billion and revenue US$73.83 billion, with the cumulative year-to-date deficit at US$7.77 billion. The fiscal reserves stood at US$114.94 billion as at end-Feb.

February retail sales rose 31.3%

Hong Kong’s total retail sales in February grew by 31.3% year-on-year to a provisionally estimated US$4.24 billion, with online sales accounting for 7.8%. Taking the first two months of 2023 together to remove the possible distortion caused by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, the value of retail sales rose notably by 17.3% year-on-year. Looking ahead, the retail sector's performance will continue to benefit from the recovery of private consumption and inbound tourism.


US report firmly rejected

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government firmly rejected (Mar 31) the US’s so-called 2023 Hong Kong Policy Act Report. The Government made it clear that the improved electoral system is advanced and superior, adding that its broad representation, political inclusiveness, balanced participation and fair competition help bring society back on track to focus on developing the economy, enhancing people’s livelihood, sustaining Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity, and achieving good governance. Hong Kong residents’ rights to vote and to stand for election are well enshrined in the Basic Law.


Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). 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: 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 Central People’s Government (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 or on its own, 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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