May 28 - Jun 2, 2019

BUSINESS AND FINANCE

Hong Kong ranks among world’s most competitive economies

Hong Kong retained its ranking as the second most competitive economy, according to the International Institute for Management Development’s World Competitiveness Yearbook 2019 (May 29). Among four competitiveness factors, Hong Kong maintained the top rank in “Government Efficiency” and was ranked second in “Business Efficiency” and 10th in “Economic Performance”. Benefiting from the Government’s increased investment in areas such as infrastructure and innovation and technology, as well as education, Hong Kong’s ranking edged up to 22nd in “Infrastructure”.

Key gateway to Mainland market

Hong Kong, with its friendly business environment, and sound legal and regulatory regime, plays a strategic and unique role to facilitate international trade and investment, and as the pivotal gateway the Mainland market, said Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng at the flagship annual event (May 29) in Asia for compliance and legal organized by the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. She said the government is committed to capitalizing on and further strengthening the city’s competitive edge as a global financial center.

LAW & ORDER

Government proposes bill changes

The Hong Kong Government has proposed additional measures to the proposed extradition bill, confining the scope of extraditable crimes to those that are heinous and most serious, introducing further human rights safeguards, and strengthening the protection of fugitives, said Secretary for Security John Lee (May 30). The security chief added there would be further safeguards to ensure the rights of suspects, pointing out that the Government will only consider extradition requests from other countries that are made through their top level of government.

Human rights to be protected

The human rights of suspected fugitives will be protected under the proposed case-based surrender arrangement of the proposed extradition bill, said Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng (Jun 2). To ensure an effective arrangement, the government will maintain flexibility by being not too prescriptive, but by allowing that to be in the administrative arrangement or the policy statement that is being adopted. “Depending on the case, depending on where is the jurisdiction requesting for the surrender of the fugitive and of course depending on the need, we can adopt the relevant provisions,” she said. The court would also look at the protection of human rights because the arrangement will be attached to the Chief Executive's certificate and will be made public in committal court proceedings.

GREATER BAY AREA

Greater Bay Area gives impetus to development

Cooperation on all fronts in the Greater Bay Area will give new impetus to the development of Hong Kong and Macao as well as build a new system of open economy, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Awards Gala Dinner (May 29). Hong Kong will play key roles in many areas, including financial services, transport and high-end logistics.

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY

Hong Kong – A biotechnology center

Hong Kong is vying to become the world’s largest fund-raising center for the biotech industry, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the opening of the Biotech Summit (May 29). Currently the world's second largest funding hub for biotech, Mrs Lam believes that the city’s international connections and comprehensive legal system, along with its capital market will further propel the city as a biotechnology center. Since the April 2018 revision of listing rules to allow pre-revenue and pre-profit biotech companies to list on the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx), seven such companies had listed on the HKEx, raising some US$2.8 billion.

NYETO EVENTS

HKETONY sponsors collegiate rugby tournament

The world’s largest collegiate rugby tournament – 2019 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship (Jun 1-2) – was off to a rousing start at the Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia, following a welcome reception (May 31), hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York (HKETONY). Welcoming athletes from 54 top men’s and women’s collegiate rugby teams at the reception, Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu encouraged them to visit Hong Kong, home of the famed Hong Kong Sevens. She said the office would continue to strengthen sporting ties between Hong Kong and the US. This year’s tournament drew some 50,000 rugby fans, who had the opportunity to win some limited edition souvenirs at the HKETONY festival booth.

HEALTH

WHO recognition in tobacco control

The World Health Organization (WHO) presented the “World No Tobacco Day” award to Hong Kong, recognizing the city’s efforts in tobacco control in the past 30 years. Smoking prevalence in the city has fell from 23% in the 1980s to 10% in 2017 over three decades of tobacco control measures, through a multipronged approach, including legislation, taxation, public education as well as provision of smoking cessation services. The government has set a target of reducing smoking prevalence to 7.8% by 2025.

ECONOMY

Key Economic Indicators

• April’s retail sales fell 4.5% year-on-year due to cautious consumption sentiment, amid external uncertainties and to the late arrival of the Labor Day holidays on the Mainland.

• Total exports of goods in April dipped 2.6% year-on-year to US$41.2 billion (HK$321.5 billion), following a 1.2% year-on-year decrease in the previous month. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods decreased by 5.5% over a year earlier to US$45.7 billion ($356.6 billion) in April, after a year-on-year decrease of 0.1% in March. The decline was attributed to weaker global economy, US-Mainland trade tensions and other external headwinds.

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: Is Chinese the only official language allowed under the Basic Law?

A: No, in addition to Chinese, English is also an official language used by the executive authorities, the legislature and the judiciary of the HKSAR. (BL Article 9)

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