No.12  December, 2019  
Bilateral relations
  Australia-HK Free Trade Agreement to enter into force on 17 January
The landmark Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Investment Agreement (IA) signed between Hong Kong and Australia earlier this year have been ratified and will take effect from 17 January, 2020, ushering in a new era for bilateral relations. The agreement provides Australian businesses greater certainty to trade and investment activities in Hong Kong. For instance, zero tariffs will be locked-in on goods, market access will be guaranteed for services suppliers, and conditions for two-way investment will be significantly improved. Other benefits include facilitative arrangements for business travel as well as provisions to facilitate access to each other’s government procurement markets, effective protection of intellectual property rights and promotion of competition. Details of the agreement, including the full texts, are available on the homepage of Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department.
Bilateral relations
Central Government leaders endorse efforts by HKSAR Government to end violent
Speaking at a media session on 16 December in Beijing to conclude her duty visit, the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, said the purpose of her duty report was to give the leaders a full account of what had happened in Hong Kong. She said President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang did endorse the efforts made by the HKSAR Government and herself in trying to end the violence. “Given the severity of the situation and the difficulties that we are facing, the leaders are fully appreciative of the efforts needed in order to achieve the objective. It is particularly worthwhile to highlight that in his opening remarks President Xi also mentioned that he very much hoped that all sectors in Hong Kong society will join hands in order to achieve this objective of ending the violence and return Hong Kong to a normal situation,” Mrs Lam noted.

Read more here.
  IMF commends resilience of Hong Kong’s financial system
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Mission has commended the resilience of Hong Kong’s financial system and Linked Exchange Rate System (LERS) despite a slowing economy, noting that a history of prudent macroeconomic policies has left Hong Kong with significant buffers to navigate through cyclical and structural challenges. The Mission also expressed support for the Government's various policies to support the economy and safeguard financial stability. The Mission reaffirmed the IMF's support for the LERS, noting that it has continued to function well amid increased global financial market volatility. The Mission underlined that the LERS remains an appropriate arrangement for Hong Kong, anchoring the stability of its highly open economy and globally integrated monetary and financial system. The assessment was made in the Concluding Statement of the IMF Mission published on 4 December, following the 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

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  Hong Kong’s stocks of inward and outward direct investment continue to rise
At the end of 2018, the total stock of Hong Kong's inward direct investment increased by 1% over a year earlier to AUD$3,170 billion. Its ratio to the GDP stood at 602% in 2018. The total stock of Hong Kong's outward direct investment increased by 0.9% over a year earlier to AUD$2,976 billion. Its ratio to GDP was 565% in 2018. A Hong Kong Government spokesman said that the stocks of overall inward and outward direct investment continued to rise in 2018, notwithstanding the increasingly uncertain global economic and financial environment in the latter part of the year. The vast stock of external direct investment in Hong Kong reveals Hong Kong’s status as an international centre for finance and commerce, as well as its attractiveness as a base for multinational corporations to manage their investment and business in the international arena.

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  Hong Kong’s IP regime further enhanced
Hong Kong continues to enhance its intellectual property regime and is determined to ensure that it remains a leader in attracting global business, said the Chief Executive of the HKSAR Mrs Carrie Lam at the Business of IP Asia Forum on 5 December. In February, a bill was introduced into legislature to allow Hong Kong to implement the international registration system under the Madrid Protocol. An original grant patent system will be launched at the end of the year to offer an alternative route for patent applicants seeking applications directly in Hong Kong, without having to make prior filing with a patent office outside Hong Kong. Mrs Lam said the Belt and Road Initiative and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development would create wide-ranging, far-reaching opportunities for Hong Kong companies and the international companies that work with Hong Kong, in IP trading and business and investment.

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  Hong Kong students excel at the International Junior Science Olympiad
A team of six Hong Kong students have won two gold and four silver medals at the International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) held in Doha. Congratulating the team on their excellent performance, the Secretary for Education of HKSAR Government, Mr Kevin Yeung, said on 12 December that the outstanding results of the Hong Kong team in the competition demonstrated their potential in science and technology. The IJSO is a science competition for secondary school students aged 15 or below. The competition covers three disciplines, namely physics, chemistry and biology up to the senior secondary level. This year, the IJSO was held from 4 to 11 December in Doha, Qatar with participation of about 320 students from 70 countries or regions.

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  One-stop manpower information portal launched
A new one-stop online manpower information portal ( was launch by the Human Resources Planning Commission of the HKSAR Government on 1 December to consolidate human resources information and data from different sources. It provides more comprehensive information to the local labour force, the younger generation in particular, to assist people in making informed choices in respect of career, training and development pathways. The portal comprises an integrated occupation database covering more than 300 occupations, a database on local courses listed in the Qualifications Register and large-scale open online courses, consolidated listings of government job vacancies and vacancies from several key local private job boards; a monthly online magazine named “Explorer”, and career quizzes for users to explore suitable occupations.

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  Hong Kong Museum of Art reopens
After major expansion and renovation, the Hong Kong Museum of Art opened its doors again to the public on 30 November with 11 new exhibitions. They include a series of collection exhibitions representing the cultural legacy in the museum's holdings. The museum has been closed since August 2015 for a renovation project to increase exhibition space and upgrade its facilities. After expansion, the total exhibition area has been increased by about 40 per cent from about 7,000 square metres to around 10,000 square metres. Established in 1962, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is the first public art museum in the city, now custodian of an art collection of over 17,000 items, representing the unique cultural legacy of Hong Kong's connection across the globe.

Read more here.
Upcoming events
  Asian Financial Forum 2020 (Hong Kong)
Business leaders from around the world will gather in Hong Kong to share insights at the 13th Asian Financial Forum (AFF), which will takes place on 13 and 14 January 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Under the theme “Redefining Growth: Innovation ∙ Breakthrough ∙ Inclusiveness”, global financial experts, policymakers, business leaders and economists will examine topical issues in the global economy and explore new opportunities. This year’s AFF will feature discussions on a wide range of issues such as the new global economy, fintech, sustainable and inclusive development and green financing, offering participants a head start in identifying new economic challenges and opportunities.

Find out more here.
  Sydney Lunar Festival Dragon Boat Races 2020 (Australia)
To share the joy of the Lunar New Year with members of the public in Australia, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO) will participate in the Sydney Lunar Festival Dragon Boat Races at Darling Harbour on 1 and 2 February 2020. A “Hong Kong Team” will compete in the Social Category of the races on 2 February. HKETO will also set up a marquee to promote Hong Kong during the two-day event. Free souvenirs with Hong Kong’s characteristic and information leaflets about Hong Kong will be distributed to the public. Come and support the Hong Kong Team at the Dragon boat races at Darling Harbour. Meanwhile, you will find Hong Kong-themed banners with Lunar New Year greeting messages displayed in some key city locations of Sydney during the Lunar New Year period.

Find out more about Sydney Lunar Festival celebrations here.
  Auckland Lantern Festival 2020 (New Zealand)
To celebrate the Year of the Rat with members of the public in New Zealand, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO) will once again participate in the Auckland Lantern Festival. Eight giant pillar lanterns will be displayed with beautiful Hong Kong photos to showcase Hong Kong’s unique culture and diversity during the Festival from 13 to 16 February 2020 at Auckland Domain. HKETO will also operate a Hong Kong marquee with free give-away souvenirs and updated information leaflets about Hong Kong.

Find out more about Auckland Lantern Festival here.
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