April 6 - 13, 2018

Trade

Protest against tariff plan

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has written to US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to protest the US planned tariff on Hong Kong aluminum imports. She said as a World Trade Organization member, Hong Kong would stand firm against acts of protectionism and unilateralism. Hong Kong, however, is reluctant to take retaliatory measures given its small export-oriented economy, she added.

Dollar Link

Stable Hong Kong Dollar here to stay

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has bought HK$3.26 billion (US$417 million) worth of Hong Kong dollars from the market to support the local currency (Apr 12-13). This marked the first time the weak-side Convertibility Undertaking of HK$7.85 against the US dollar has been triggered since 2005, when the level had been set. The move was made under the Linked Exchange Rate System which aims to ensure the local currency exchange rate does not weaken beyond 7.8500. Chief Executive of HKMA Norman Chan reiterated in a statement that the HKMA was fully capable of maintaining the currency stability and managing large capital flows.

Stock Connects

Increases in Stock Connect quotas welcomed

The China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Securities and Futures Commission have announced that the daily quotas for stock connects between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen will be increased to RMB52 billion for each of the northbound trading links (from RMB13 billion); and to RMB42 billion for each of the southbound trading links (from RMB10.5 billion). Financial Secretary Paul Chan welcomed the development, saying that it will reinforce Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. Chief Executive of HKMA Norman Chan said the quota expansion will further enhance the smoothness and certainty of trading.

Bilateral Ties

CE welcomes First Minister of Scotland

Welcoming the visit of the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon to Hong Kong (Apr 13), Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she hoped more Scottish scientific research institutions like the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation would tap into the opportunities in the city’s I&T sector as well as in the development of the Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative. An agreement was signed several years ago to explore collaboration in scientific research between universities in the two places. The Edinburgh Centre under the University of Edinburgh was set up at the Hong Kong Science Park two years ago for joint development of carbon technologies.

First visit by Dutch Prime Minister

Welcoming Mark Rutte, the first Dutch Prime Minister ever to visit Hong Kong, Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung called on Dutch businesses to partner with their counterparts in Hong Kong to seize the enormous opportunities brought about by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area and by the Belt and Road Initiative. The Prime Minister was in town to officiate at the opening of the new Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Wan Chai (Apr 9). Starting January 2019, a new Working Holiday Arrangement will take effect under which 100 young people from Hong Kong can work in the Netherlands annually. 

HKETONY News

First visit to Maryland

HKETONY Director Joanne Chu gave an update on Hong Kong’s IT development and explored collaboration in meetings with government officials, business leaders and academics during her first duty visit to the Old Line State (Apr 11-12). Among them, was Donald Fry, President and CEO of Greater Baltimore Committee (pictured). 

Innovation and Technology

Encouraging tech entrepreneurship

A US$64 million Technology Talent Scheme will be launched in the third quarter of 2018 to encourage more young people to engage in R&D and technology entrepreneurship, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the 3rd annual Internet Economy Summit (Apr 12). There will also be a super tax deduction of up to 300% for R&D expenditure incurred by enterprises. These are part of a package of support measures with a view to “upgrading our capability, as well as providing a conducive ecosystem for innovation and technology development in Hong Kong.”

Innovation and connectivity key to development

Hong Kong can contribute to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area in the areas of innovation and connectivity in particular, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 in Hainan (Apr 9). In her meetings with Hebei Governor Xu Qin, and Hainan Governor Shen Xiaoming, Mrs Lam highlighted Hong Kong’s rich experience in city management and its mature financial platform, and looked forward to further co-operation. 

Thriving start-up scene

Hong Kong’s flourishing start-up scene, listed among the world’s five fastest-growing start-up centers, would help create fresh impetus in IT development, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan at the Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2018 (Apr 10). The city has hoped to attract more renowned international and Mainland research institutions and technology companies to further nurture home-grown talents, he added, citing the opening of the overseas research facility of the Karolinska Institutet and the MIT Innovation Node in recent years.        

Business/Finance

Hong Kong’s advantages

At the Bloomberg Invest Asia Summit (Apr 11), Chief Executive Carrie Lam pointed out that Hong Kong’s core strengths, connectivity, growth opportunities and proactive government are key to attracting overseas investments and investors. Aside from independent judiciary, clean and efficient government, strong public finances and low tax system, Mrs Lam pointed out that Hong Kong is one of the world’s safest cities with a record low crime rate.

Arts & Culture

Guggenheim upcoming exhibition

The works of sound artist Samson Young and visual artist Wong Ping will be showcased in a group exhibition “One Hand Clapping” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (May 4 - Oct 21). Young’s site-specific project uses digitally engineered sounds to reflect on the generation’s obsession with routine and authenticity.

Conservation project garners UNESCO’s top honor

The Blue House Cluster project has won the Award of Excellence in the 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, the first time a project in Hong Kong has received the top honor. Hailing the award as a “proud milestone in Hong Kong’s journey in heritage conservation and revitalization” (Apr 6), Chief Executive Carrie Lam affirmed the government’s commitment to sustainable development and conservation of architectural heritage.

Charity

Guinness Record of one-arm push- ups

Hong Kong Police Force have joined forces with Society for Abandoned Animals in setting the Guinness World Record for the “Most people performing one-arm push-ups” (Apr 7).  The challenge was the first of its kind to promote animal welfare and to raise funds for the abandoned and disabled animals.

Aviation

World’s largest air cargo center

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is the world’s largest air cargo center, according to the latest Airports Council International rankings (Apr 9), handling more than 5 million metric tons of cargo in 2017, a 9.4% year-on-year increase. The airport was ranked 8th busiest in the world for passenger traffic, handling over 72 million passengers in 2017, up 3.4% year-on-year. 

Basic Law

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (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 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 12 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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