May 13 - 19, 2019

TRADE

Strengthening free and open trade alliances

Hong Kong and like-minded economies are seeking to strengthen alliances for free and open trade through free trade agreements, said Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said at a discussion session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting in Vina del Mar, Chile on May 18. Citing the signing of the Hong Kong-Australia Free Trade Agreement and Investment Agreement in March, he said the two pacts provide transparency and predictability and give a big boost of confidence to the rules-based trading system against the prevailing uncertainties in the global economy.

HK-ASEAN pact to take effect

The Investment Agreement between Hong Kong and five Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, namely Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will enter into force on June 17. Meanwhile, the Free Trade Agreement with these five member states under ASEAN framework will enter into force on June 11. Upon the implementation of the FTA, Singapore will bind all its customs duties at zero, whereas Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will progressively reduce or eliminate their customs duties on goods originating from Hong Kong.

Key economic indicators

  • Hong Kong’s economy in the first quarter expanded modestly by 0.6% over a year earlier, slower than the preceding quarter’s 1.2% growth. The Government will leave unchanged its full-year GDP growth forecast of 2% to 3% as announced in February, but will continue to closely monitor developments on both the external and local fronts in the coming months and review this year’s economic growth forecast in August.
  • The volume of Hong Kong’s total goods exports decreased by 3% year-on-year in March. Comparing the first quarter of 2019 with the same period last year, the volume of goods exports fell 4.2%, while that of goods imports dropped 5%.

LAW & ORDER

CE urges respect in bill scrutiny

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 16) reiterated the purpose of the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 is to remove the loopholes in the existing mechanism for surrendering fugitive offenders. She added that it is not possible to withdraw the bill as the work to mend such insufficiencies in the current mechanism is not complete. Earlier on, she (May 14) urged lawmakers to respect each other and fulfill their duties to scrutinize the bill, adding that the Government will proactively listen to legislators' views during the process at the Legislative Council. Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said that the door is always open to any political party to exchange views on the bill. The Government will consider adopting those constructive ideas which can clarify the concerns about it.

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY

Hong Kong Laureate Forum launched

The first Hong Kong Laureate Forum, a platform built on the basis of the Shaw Prize to inspire young scientists from around the world, was launched on May 14. Speaking at the launch ceremony, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said promoting science and technology education in schools at every level could ensure Hong Kong maintain a sustainable flow of talent to capture the promise of innovation and technology. The inaugural Forum will be held in November 2021 in Hong Kong and applications to attend the Forum are expected to start in 2020.

HONG KONG-GUANGDONG COOPERATION

Deepening Hong Kong-Guangdong ties

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui co-chaired a plenary meeting of Hong Kong-Guangdong cooperation in Guangzhou on May 16. At the meeting, they defined clear directions and goals on the implementation of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and further collaboration between Hong Kong and Guangdong. In addition, both sides reached consensus on a work plan for the coming year, covering nine areas including: cross-boundary infrastructure development and clearance facilitation, joint development of an international innovation and technology hub, fostering cooperation in modern service industries, as well as taking forward the development of key co-operation platforms and arrangements of a mechanism.

NYETO EVENTS

Hong Kong film talents attend Chicago premiere

At the Chicago premiere (May 13) of award-winning film “Still Human,” audience learned more about the making of the film from director Olivia Chen and actress Crisel Consunji and the hope that the movie would help open up discussions and shift perceptions about the disabled and domestic workers. HKETONY Director Joanne Chu said the critically-acclaimed movie has won rave reviews and a number of awards in Hong Kong and abroad, adding that the office would continue to support bringing outstanding Hong Kong films into the United States.

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: Can foreign enterprises participate fully in Hong Kong’s economy?

A: Yes. Hong Kong welcomes and encourages the participation of foreign enterprises, and provides a level playing field for all. There are no foreign exchange controls in Hong Kong and no restrictions on the trading of gold, securities, futures and the like. The Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong shall maintain the status of a free port, pursue the policy of free trade and safeguard the free movement of goods, intangible assets and capital. (BL Articles 112; 114; 115)

For daily updates

This e-mail has been sent to , click here to unsubscribe.

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York

115 East 54 Street 10022 New York US