September 21 - 28, 2018

Freest economy

HK crowned world's freest economy again

Hong Kong remains the world’s freest economy, according to the 2018 Economic Freedom of the World Report, co-published by the Cato Institute and Fraser Institute (Sep 25). Rounding out the top five are Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Ireland. The US, ranked 6th, enters the top 10 most-economically free countries/territories for the first time since 2009. The report measures the economic freedom—the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions—by analyzing the policies and institutions of 162 countries/territories. These include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, sound legal system and property rights, and government spending and taxation.

Bilateral ties

SCED promotes HK’s free trade causes

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau visited Washington, DC this week (Sep 23-26) to exchange views on US-Hong Kong economic relations, express support for free trade and the multilateral trading system and promote the city as an international business center. During his visit, Secretary Yau met with US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, as well as other senior officials, members of Congress, business organizations and think tanks. The Secretary attended a gala to mark Cathay Pacific’s inaugural direct flight between HK and Washington. He also witnessed the signing of a Statement of Intent on Smart Technology Collaboration between the US Department of Commerce and the HK Productivity Council.

Finance

HK well positioned as green finance hub: CE

Hong Kong is well positioned to offer needed financial services as a green finance hub with a US$12.8 billion sovereign green bond issuance in the pipeline, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at the 2018 Hong Kong Green Finance Forum and inauguration of Hong Kong Green Finance Association (Sep 21). Chairman of HKGFA Dr. Ma Jun added that green finance could play a critical role in improving the environment.

Legal

Term of non-permanent CFA judges extended

The Chief Executive has accepted the recommendations of the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal to extend the term of two non-permanent judges of the CFA for three years. The judges are the Honourable Mr Justice Syed Kemal Shah Bokhary and The Right Honourable the Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers. The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance provides for a list of non-permanent Hong Kong judges and a list of judges from other common law jurisdictions.

Legal sector embraces tech applications

Fintech, lawtech, and machine learning for legal research are some of the areas Hong Kong is embracing as the city leverages its position as the region’s legal and dispute-resolution services hub, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Law Society's Belt and Road Conference (Sep 28). For example, the Law Society is exploring the creation of an e-platform known as the eBRAM (Belt and Road Arbitration and Mediation Centre) to facilitate the conclusion of transactions as well as dispute resolution. Hong Kong, with its rule of law buttressed by a common law system, an independent judiciary and abundance of well-qualified legal professionals, has been consistently rated as one of the most preferred seats of arbitration outside Europe.

Cybersecurity

Information sharing website to buttress cyber security

Companies and organizations that manage electronic communications networks in Hong Kong, irrespective of size, are eligible to participate for free in a newly launched government cyber security scheme that promotes cyber security and information exchange. Launched by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, Cybersec Infohub (Cybersechub.hk) is the first cross-sector cyber security information sharing and collaborative platform in the city to share advice and expert insights on topics such as mitigation measures and best practices with cyber security experts from different industries.

Obituary

HK mourns passing of Father of Fiber Optics Charles Kao

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other Principal Officials have poured out condolences and deep sorrow over the passing of Professor Charles K. Kao (高錕), the esteemed “Father of Fiber Optics” and revered “Pride of Hong Kong People” (Sep 23). Professor Kao (1933-2018) was a pioneer in the development and use of fiber optics which had revolutionized the world's modern communication technology. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009, and received the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 2010, the highest award under the HKSAR honours system. He had been the vice-chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (1987 – 1996), shaping the higher education landscape and nurturing the next generation.

Logistics & Infrastructure

XRL Hong Kong Section opens to vast opportunities

Chief Executive Carrie Lam together with Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui took a ride on the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link on Sep 22 which marked the official opening of the 88 mile-long high-speed rail. Mrs Lam said the XRL bringing closer the most rapidly developing leading cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area would create synergy among the cities and bring forth more development opportunities.

Aviation

New air ticket rules to enhance transparency

Airlines will need to provide the final price and the price breakdown when selling air tickets at their direct sales outlets from Nov 1. The Civil Aviation Department (Sep 21) mandated the breakdown has to show all “must pay” elements of the ticket fare in each quotation or transaction, including the applicable airfare, the passenger fuel surcharge (if levied by the relevant airline), Air Passenger Departure Tax, Passenger Security Charge and Airport Construction Fee.

Education

HK is the best place to study abroad

A recent survey showed employers are more likely to offer higher salary to job candidates who have studied abroad, and HK tops the list of most valuable study abroad destinations voted by hiring personnel. London and Paris are ranked 2nd and 3rd. The findings help shed light on why the city is the best place for studying abroad.

Job opportunities

Positions open to overseas doctors to practice in HK

HK has stepped up efforts to recruit medical doctors from other places in anticipation of more demands by a growing biomedical technology community and the opening of the first Children’s Hospital later this year. The government is working with the Medical Council to provide more flexibility to allow more qualified, overseas-trained doctors to work in the city through either passing the Licensing Examination or a Limited Registration arrangement. Aside from opportunities at the Children’s Hospital, the city’s public hospitals are recruiting specialists in such areas as anatomical pathology, cardiothoracic surgery and radiology.

Arts & Culture

Application for HKETONY-ACC Fellowship Program opens

Artists in Hong Kong are invited to apply for the HKETONY-ACC Fellowship Program which provides the opportunity to engage in cultural exchange and artistic explorations. This is the third time the HKETONY is partnering with the Asian Cultural Council to offer valuable opportunities for talented and promising artists to gain cross-cultural exposures. New media artist Otto Li (李天倫), who has spent six months as a HKETONY-ACC Fellow in New York, will share his experience with prospective applicants at the ACC Hong Kong office on Oct 15. The application is open till November 16 (Hong Kong time). Application information can be found on its website (www.asianculturalcouncil.org.hk/).

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 Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy?

A: The National People’s Congress authorizes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 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. Except for defense, foreign affairs and other matters for which the Central Authorities are responsible under the Basic Law, Hong Kong people are administering our affairs within our autonomy under the Basic Law. We are not even required to pay taxes to the Central People’s Government. (Basic Law (BL) Articles 2; 12-17; 19; 22; 106)

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Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York

115 East 54 Street 10022 New York US