Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York
Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's New

   
Fugitive bill reading requested

The Government has written to the Legislative Council's House Committee asking for a second reading of the fugitive law amendment bill to be resumed on June 12. When making the announcement (May 20), Secretary for Security John Lee said that the move is being taken as the bills committee that is meant to scrutinize the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 has become ineffectual. The Government will continue to explain to various stakeholders on the Bill so as to enhance public understanding of its content. Details here.

Opening remarks by S for S at media session on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

Transcript of remarks by S for S at media session on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

Fugitive bill reading requested
   
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 (FTAs), said Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau at a discussion session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Viña del Mar, Chile (May 18). Citing the signing of the Hong Kong-Australia FTA and Investment Agreement in March, he said Hong Kong is a steadfast supporter of rules-based trading system against the prevailing uncertainties in the global economy. Details here.

Strengthening free and open trade alliances
   
No need to adjust GDP forecast

Financial Secretary Paul Chan said (May 18) it is currently premature to adjust this year’s Gross Domestic Product forecast. Speaking to reporters after attending a radio programme, Chan said while the ongoing Sino-US trade negotiation brings volatility to financial market and business sentiment, the Government is closely monitoring the situation and will be following regular practice to update GDP forecast in August. Details here.

No need to adjust GDP forecast
   
Unemployment steady at 2.8%

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.8% in the February-April period, unchanged from the January-March period, the Census & Statistics Department announced (May 20). The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods. Secretary for Labour & Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the labor market stayed tight and the unemployment situation improved in many major service sectors compared with a year earlier. Details here.

Unemployment steady at 2.8%
   
CE mourns I M Pei

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 17) expressed deep sorrow over the passing of renowned Chinese American architect I M Pei. Noting that Pei lived in Hong Kong for a period of time when he was young, Mrs Lam said that his works are widely known to those in Hong Kong, including the iconic Bank of China Tower in Central, which has become the landmark of the city and the pride of the Hong Kong people. Details here.

CE mourns I M Pei
   
Economy grows modestly in Q1

Hong Kong’s economy expanded modestly by 0.6% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Government said (May 17), as it was affected by a slowdown in exports and investments amid Sino-US trade tensions. The first quarter’s pace compares with an annual expansion of 1.2% in the previous quarter, and was slightly higher than its advance estimate of 0.5% growth. The Government will leave unchanged its full-year GDP growth forecast of 2% to 3% as announced in the Budget. Details here.

Economy grows modestly in Q1
   
Hong Kong, Guangdong team up on tech and services

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui co-chaired the 21st Plenary of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Guangzhou (May 16). At the meeting, both sides reached consensus on a range of areas of co-operation, and signed an agreement on the work plan for the coming year which covers nine areas including cross-boundary infrastructure development and clearance facilitation; jointly developing an international innovation and technology hub; fostering co-operation in modern service industries; internationalised business environment; as well as taking forward the development of key co-operation platforms and arrangement of a mechanism. Details here.

Hong Kong, Guangdong team up on tech and services
   
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 Laos and Vietnam under ASEAN framework will enter into force on June 11. Details here.

HK-ASEAN pact to take effect
   
March goods exports slip 3%

The volume of Hong Kong’s total goods exports dropped 3% year-on-year in March, the Census & Statistics Department announced (May 16). 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%. Details here.

March goods exports slip 3%
   
Bill withdrawal impossible: CE

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. Details here.

Bill withdrawal impossible: CE
   
HKETONY promotes HK film talents in Chicago

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. Details here.

HKETONY promotes HK film talents in Chicago
   
Hong Kong launches Laureate Forum

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. Details here.

Hong Kong launches Laureate Forum
   
CE urges respect in bill scrutiny

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 14) called on lawmakers to respect each other and fulfill their duties to vet the proposed changes to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, adding that the Government will proactively listen to legislators' views during their scrutiny of the bill at LegCo. 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 the bill.

CE urges respect in bill scrutiny

Transcript of remarks by CS and S for S (with video)

CE urges respect in bill scrutiny
   
Rational discussions on extradition laws urged

The Government called on Legislative Council members to adopt a rational approach and resolve differences of opinion over the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (May 11). The Government urged lawmakers to resume rational discussions with mutual respect for each other so as to enable the legislature to restore its normal operation and scrutinize legislative proposals in a pragmatic manner. Details here.

Rational discussions on extradition laws urged
   
Exporters backed amid tariff hike

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said (May 10) additional credit insurance measures will be extended until 2020 to support Hong Kong exporters amid the Sino-US trade dispute. He added that the general feedback from Hong Kong’s small and medium size enterprises remain calm partly because they have been preparing for the uncertainties. Meanwhile, Hong Kong will expand new market and enter new FTAs with trading partners. Details here.

Exporters backed amid tariff hike
   
E-info required for mail to US

Starting June 1, all mail items except small and large letters to be sent to United States must have electronic customs information submitted in English at the time of posting, Hongkong Post announced (May 10). The electronic customs data can be provided using Hongkong Post's online platform or its mobile app Easy PreCustoms. Details here.

E-info required for mail to US
   
More virtual banking licenses issued

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has issued four more virtual banking licenses to Ant SME Services, Infinium, Insight Fintech HK and Ping An OneConnect, which take effect May 9. Chief Executive of HKMA Norman Chan said the launch of virtual banks in Hong Kong, a key component of the Smart Banking Initiatives, will facilitate financial innovation, enhanced customer experience and financial inclusion. The HKMA is working closely with the eight virtual bank licensees to prepare for the launch of their business operations in around six to nine months. Details here.

More virtual banking licenses issued
   
Hong Kong – ASEAN trade pact to take effect

The commitments made under the Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and the three Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, namely Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, will come into effect on June 11. Upon implementation, Singapore will commit to binding all its customs duties at zero, while Myanmar and Thailand will progressively eliminate and reduce their customs duties on goods originating from Hong Kong. To enjoy the preferential tariff treatment for exporting Hong Kong goods to these three places, Hong Kong traders need to comply with the relevant preferential rules of origin and requirements. On trade in services, Hong Kong service providers will enjoy better business opportunities and legal certainty in market access for a comprehensive range of services sectors. The agreement’s dates of entry into force for the remaining seven ASEAN member states will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. Details here.

Hong Kong – ASEAN trade pact to take effect
   
Applications for next generation travel documents to start

Applications for Next Generation Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Electronic Passport (e-Passport) and Electronic Document of Identity for Visa Purposes (e-Doc/I) will be accepted effective May 14. The new travel documents will be produced in compliance with the standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization, with the holder’s personal data and facial image stored in digital form in the contactless chip embedded in the back cover of the documents, along with enhanced security features. The time required for processing such applications will also be shortened from 10 to five working days. Details here.

Applications for next generation travel documents to start
   
Boundless opportunities for European business

Financial Secretary Paul Chan encouraged European businesses to harness the boundless opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and under the Belt and Road Initiative. Speaking at the Europe Day Reception (May 9), Mr Chan highlighted the strong trade ties between Hong Kong and the EU, with merchandise trade totaling €77 billion (US$86.5 billion). This makes the EU, as a single entity, the largest trading partner for the city. Details here.

Boundless opportunities for European business
   
Government refutes US report

The Government (May 8) said that amending local extradition laws is to enhance Hong Kong’s capability to deal with fugitives of serious criminal offences and to make the city a better partner in the international fight against crime. It was responding to media enquiries on the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s report on the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. Attaching the utmost importance to Hong Kong’s core values, including the rule of law and judicial independence, the Government explained that the proposed amendments make reference to the guidelines and model prescribed by the United Nations, and is fully underpinned by human rights protection principles that are prevailing in practicing regimes in many jurisdictions around the world. Details here.

Government refutes US report
   
Business environment safe: SCED

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said (May 8) Hong Kong, as an international commerce center, attaches great importance on its ties with foreign countries, adding that such relationships, particularly economic and trade relations, are not based on the views of a particular country or its parliament, but rather on mutually beneficial relations. He said that it was implausible to suggest the proposed fugitive law amendments will affect the city’s business environment. Pointing out Hong Kong’s practice to tackle issues through an objective and systematic way of handling legislative proposals, he said that the way forward is to have the Legislative Council Bills Committee examine, scrutinize and discuss the details of Government’s proposed extradition bill, so that the Government can make the bill workable and allow different views to be expressed. Details here.

Business environment safe: SCED
   
Government responds to European report

In response to media enquiries about a report on Hong Kong issued by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government said since its return to the Motherland, it has been handling Hong Kong affairs strictly in accordance with the “one country, two systems” principle, the Basic Law and the laws of Hong Kong. Attaching great importance to human rights and civil liberties, which are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Government attaches great importance to them and is determined to safeguard them. Details here.

Government responds to European report
   
Renewing ties with the First State

In his first duty visit to Delaware (May 6-7), Hong Kong Commissioner Eddie Mak, accompanied by HKETONY Director Joanne Chu, called on Governor John Carney, briefing him on the latest economic developments of Hong Kong and the vast opportunities for Delaware businesses in the Greater Bay Area, amid the city’s innovation and technology push and steadfast IP rights protection. During the meeting with Mayor of Wilmington Michael Purzycki, Commissioner Mak explored potential cooperation ranging from business and trade to arts and culture. Details here.

Renewing ties with the First State
   
Fugitive law scrutiny urged

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 7) called on the pan-democrat lawmakers to scrutinize the Government’s proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, urging them to fulfill their duty as legislators. At a press conference, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng and Secretary for Security John Lee reiterated that the proposed fugitive law change, which will maintain all existing human rights and procedural safeguards, is the best option to deal with a Taiwan homicide case involving a Hong Kong suspect and plug existing legal loopholes. Options proposed by the community, including allowing local courts to try Hong Kong suspects for serious crimes committed abroad, were impracticable and would involve fundamental changes to the city's criminal law system.

Fugitive law scrutiny urged

Opening remarks by S for S at press conference on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (with video)

Opening remarks by SJ at press conference on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (with video)

Fugitive law scrutiny urged
   
Financial risks manageable: FS

Overall systemic risks in the local financial markets are manageable despite recent developments in Sino-US trade talks, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan (May 7). He noted Hong Kong’s financial system is in good health, adding that the Government will closely monitor the banking sector and capital markets and ensure there was adequate liquidity. Details here.

Financial risks manageable: FS
   
HKMA introduces key measures on sustainable banking and green finance

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has unveiled three sets of measures to support and promote Hong Kong’s green finance development. Speaking at a forum (May 7), HKMA Chief Executive Norman Chan said that the Hong Kong will collaborate with the industry and other stakeholders to combat climate change risks and deliver on the green finance goals. Details here.

HKMA introduces key measures on sustainable banking and green finance
   
Enhanced collaboration with I&T sector

The Government is keen to collaborate with leading international I&T companies and industry players to promote the sector’s development in Hong Kong, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the opening ceremony of Singapore-based ASM Pacific Technology’s Hong Kong office and R&D center (May 6). Pointing out that the government had introduced a super deduction in profits tax for companies’ R&D spending, Mrs Lam urged private enterprises to also invest in R&D so as to achieve the target of increasing total R&D expenditure to 1.5 per cent of Hong Kong’s GDP. Details here.

Enhanced collaboration with I&T sector
   
HKMA, World Bank Group cohost session on impact investing

Hong Kong will continue to work with market leaders to build industry capacity in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and impact investing management, with a view to further promoting sustainable infrastructure, particularly in emerging economies, said Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office Eddie Yue at a seminar cohosted with World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (May 6). Details here.

HKMA, World Bank Group cohost session on impact investing
   
Intellectual Property List in Court of First Instance of High Court set up

To better protect intellectual property (IP) rights, specialist Judges will be assigned to handle IP cases, the Judiciary announced (May 6). The efforts aim to better manage court cases and increase efficiency in resolving the IP disputes. Details here.

Intellectual Property List in Court of First Instance of High Court set up
   
Slower economic growth in Q1 2019

Hong Kong’s economy grew by 0.5 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, following an 1.2 percent increase in the fourth quarter last year, according to advance estimates (May 2). The slower growth was attributed to weaker global economic performance, and weaker exports and investments. The modest year-on-year growth in the first quarter also reflected the high base of comparison in the same quarter of last year, when the economy grew strongly by 4.6%. Details here.

Slower economic growth in Q1 2019
   

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