March 11 - 17, 2019

FINANCE

Removal from EU tax watchlist

Hong Kong welcomed the European Union’s decision to remove Hong Kong from its watchlist on tax co-operation (Mar 13). Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury James Lau said Hong Kong has all along supported and facilitated the efforts of the international community in enhancing tax transparency and combating cross-border tax evasion. Since 2018, the city has implemented various initiatives relating to international tax co-operation and fulfilled the commitments made to the EU. Mr Lau said the latest decision showed that Hong Kong's compliance with the standards of international tax co-operation is recognized by the international community.

Diversifying the economy

Hong Kong will look into introducing a more competitive tax arrangement, along with more structural choices, to attract more private equity funds to set up and operate in the city, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan (Mar 13). This will help attract more capital, help drive the economy, generate demand for related professional services and create opportunities for the service industry. This is also part of the efforts to diversity Hong Kong’s economy and to develop the city into the international financial center of China, Asia and the world.

MARITIME & LOGISTICS

Maritime strengths promoted

As one of the world’s busiest container port and leading international ship finance center in Asia, Hong Kong will continue to reinforce its role as an international maritime center with initiatives to boost high value-added maritime services, said Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan (Mar 12). Offering a variety of quality maritime services ranging from ship management, ship broking and chartering to marine insurance, maritime law and arbitration, Hong Kong also offers the best platform for firms interested in seizing opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area and beyond.

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY

Smart Government Innovation Lab to open

Hong Kong is progressing in its digital transformation, with new initiatives and programs in the pipeline as it forges ahead with its Smart City goals and development as an I&T hub, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan (Mar 12). The Smart Government Innovation Lab, to be launched in April, will enable local SMEs and startups to bid for digital public services projects. The electronic identity program, serving as a single digital authentication for the city’s residents, will be launched in 2020.

EDUCATION

New international school campus opens

Recognizing the importance of a vibrant international school scene to meet the needs of Hong Kong’s large and growing global community, Chief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the opening of Malvern College Hong Kong (Mar 11). The Government has facilitated the growth of the international school sector through an open and competitive bidding process. Hong Kong is home to Asia’s largest international school sector, with more than 50 international schools in the city.

CIVIL LIBERTIES

Human rights fully protected

Human rights and freedom in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other relevant legislation, said a government spokesman, adding that the Government is determined to safeguard them. The Hong Kong SAR has been exercising a high degree of autonomy and Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong’ in strict accordance with the Basic Law with the “one country, two systems” principle fully and successfully implemented.

LAW & ORDER

Administrative and legal process

Hong Kong courts will act as a gatekeeper under proposed amendments for the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, said Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng (Mar 12). To activate the process of surrendering fugitive offenders, cases must first go through administrative procedures and legal procedures in court. She added that the double criminality legal principle is in place, which means the courts will only consider extraditing suspects if the crimes involved are alleged as criminal offences in both places. Ms Cheng said the Secretary for Security will listen to different views before tabling the amendment bill to the Legislative Council.

AVIATION

Boeing B737 MAX aircraft banned from Hong Kong airspace

As a precautionary measure to ensure aviation safety and protect the public, the Civil Aviation Department has temporarily prohibited the operation of all Boeing B737 MAX aircraft into, out of and over Hong Kong. The temporary ban took effect at 6 PM local time on Mar 13 and will continue until further notice. The CAD will continue to monitor developments and the information of relevant aviation authorities and will review the arrangement in due course.

NYETO Events

USLW visits New York

Hong Kong Under Secretary for Labour and Welfare Caspar Tsui shared the city's experience and policy initiatives in women's empowerment at a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York (Mar 12). He highlighted the Government's multi-pronged strategy and recent policy initiatives to support women in fulfilling family commitments and promoting women's employment. Mr Tsui was in New York to attend the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

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: Has there been any interference in the independence of the Judiciary?

A: No. Hong Kong’s robust and respected court system exercises judicial power independently, free from any interference. The power of final adjudication is vested in the Court of Final Appeal of the HKSAR, which may as required invite judges from other common law jurisdictions to sit on the Court of Final Appeal. The principle of trial by jury previously practiced in Hong Kong is maintained. (BL Articles 2; 19; 81; 82; 85; 86)

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