No.8  August, 2020  
Latest from Hong Kong
LegCo General Election postponed for a year
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government announced on 31 July that, amid the severe COVID-19 epidemic situation, the Chief Executive in Council has decided to postpone the 2020 Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election, originally scheduled for 6 September, 2020, for a year to 5 September, 2021, in order to protect public safety and public health as well as ensure elections are conducted openly and fairly.

Hong Kong is not alone in prioritising public health over polls. According to Swedish-based The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, at least 70 countries and territories around the world have already postponed elections due to the pandemic.

The postponement of the LegCo Elections in no way undermines the democratic process in Hong Kong. Instead, it is a responsible decision taken to protect members of the public and electors against the spread of COVID-19 as well as the rights of Hong Kong voters – at a time when Hong Kong is living under some of the strictest social distancing measures since the outbreak of COVID-19, any meaningful electioneering activities would not be possible. Stringent boundary control measures also make it impossible for registered Hong Kong voters to return from overseas or the Mainland of China to cast their votes. Worse still, proceeding with the polls would present a big health risk to the community, given the large scale of the LegCo Election: 4.4 million registered voters, 615 polling stations, 34,000 electoral staff, dedicated central counting station and media centre, etc.

The HKSAR Government attaches utmost importance to ensuring, and protecting, the constitutional right of Hong Kong people to take part in, and stand for, elections. The HKSAR Government will do freely, openly and in good faith in September next year.

Details here.
Cargo clearance facilities at Liantang Port/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point open
The cargo clearance facilities of the Liantang Port (LP)/Heung Yuen Wai (HYW) Boundary Control Point (BCP) opened on 26 August. Addressing the opening ceremony, the Chief Executive of the HKSAR Mrs Carrie Lam said that the new BCP greatly shortens the travelling time between Hong Kong, Shenzhen and eastern Guangdong, thereby facilitating the smooth and efficient operation of cross-boundary logistics; furthering the co-operation and development of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, eastern Guangdong and neighbouring provinces; and providing extremely favourable infrastructure connectivity for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The LP/HYW BCP is the seventh land-based control point between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. As for the passenger facilities, relevant departments will review the situation and commission the facilities at a suitable time taking into account the epidemic situation and the cross-boundary anti-epidemic measures.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic measures
  • The Government will launch the Universal Community Testing Programme on 1 September to provide a one-off free testing service for members of the public.

  • The second tranche of the Employment Support Scheme will invite applications from 31 August to 13 September. Eligible employers will receive wage subsidies for paying employee wages from September to November. A new round of Anti-epidemic Fund to help sectors affected by COVID-19 will be launched.

  • The Government will relax some social distancing measures on 28 August to extend the dine-in services allowed to 9 pm; to allow re-opening of scheduled premises including cinemas, beauty parlours and some outdoor sports premises for activities involving little physical contact; and to allow people not to wear masks in country parks and while doing exercise.

  • Transfer/transit services at Hong Kong International Airport for passengers from airports in Mainland China resumed on 15 August until 15 October. From 18 August, passengers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport must go to the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre in the restricted area of the airport for COVID-19 testing. From late July, arrivals from high-risk places are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a flight to Hong Kong and confirmation of hotel room reservation in Hong Kong for compulsory quarantine.
Read more from the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
  Researchers collaborate in the development of a recombinant RBD vaccine against SARS-CoV-2
As researchers around the world race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, Hong Kong Polytechnic University has teamed up with counterparts in Macao and Mainland China to produce a “recombinant RBD protein vaccine”. Tests on animals induced a potent antibody response as early as seven or 14 days after a single injection. Human trials will start soon. Their study is the focus of a research paper recently published in the prestigious science journal Nature.

Details here.
  Global Fast Track Programme to boost fintech development
Invest Hong Kong unveiled on 10 August the Global Fast Track Programme, a business-driven programme within Hong Kong Fintech Week, to help local and global fintech enterprises leverage Hong Kong's proven resilience and fintech opportunities to scale business and accelerate innovation. The programme plugs fintech enterprises directly into Hong Kong's diverse ecosystem of world-class regulators, business leaders, corporates and investors to propel their ventures across Hong Kong and elsewhere in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Asia where digitisation and fintech adoption are surging.

Details here.
  Greater Bay Area legal measures welcomed
The Department of Justice on 11 August welcomed the decision passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on authorising the State Council to implement pilot measures for Hong Kong and Macao legal practitioners. The measures will allow practitioners to obtain Mainland practice qualifications and practise as lawyers in the nine Pearl River Delta municipalities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The Department of Justice noted that the decision will be conducive to the expansion of professional service by the local legal sector in the Greater Bay Area. The Secretary for Justice Ms Teresa Cheng pointed out that the move would further promote Hong Kong as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre in the Greater Bay Area.

Details here.
  US' rule on Hong Kong products unacceptable
The US' new rule on origin marking, which requires Hong Kong-made products exported to the country to be labelled as made in China, is unacceptable and an attempt to undermine the city’s separate customs status. The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Mr Edward Yau made the statement after meeting major local trade chambers on 13 August. “The US’ recent attempt to impose an origin marking requirement on Hong Kong products is basically asking Hong Kong traders to tell a lie that products made in Hong Kong would be misdescribed as made in China. So by common sense, by international practices of origin rules and by World Trade Organization requirements, all this is exception and unacceptable," he said.

Details here.
  Common Recruitment Examination and Basic Law Test schedule announced
The coming Common Recruitment Examination and Basic Law Test (Degree / Professional Grades) is tentatively scheduled to be held in Hong Kong on 10 and 17 October 2020. For the convenience of those studying or residing outside Hong Kong, the above examination is also tentatively scheduled to be held on 5 December 2020 in seven other cities, including Sydney. The application period for the exam to be held in Hong Kong was from 7 to 20 August while application for sitting the examination outside Hong Kong will be called later this year.

Details here.
HKETO event
  Hong Kong House Webinar showcases Hong Kong’s strengths as an international finance centre
The HKETO Sydney held its third webinar of “Hong Kong House Webinar Series” on 19 August to discuss Hong Kong’s strengths as an international finance centre in a pandemic and beyond. In his presentation titled "Certainty and Uncertainty", the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Mr Christopher Hui talked in details on the monetary and fiscal stability of Hong Kong, the Government's three-pronged approach to economic recovery, the new opportunities for the financial services industry, for example, the new catalysts for growth for the financial market, the increase in product variety which brought about opportunities for global investors, the unique advantage of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) in comparison to other Bay Areas in the world in particular for the financial services industry. He also discussed the development and opportunities for FinTech industry and its ecosystem, and encouraged businesses in Australia and New Zealand to learn more and benefit from the new growth. Further, he encouraged Australian property companies to list REIT in Hong Kong. He said that there was a more stable social environment after the promulgation of the National Security Law.
Upcoming events
  Hong Kong Fintech Week 2020 (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong Fintech Week, Asia's global financial technology event, which attracts fintech entrepreneurs, investors, regulators and visionaries, will take place virtually in Hong Kong from 2 to 6 November. The week-long event will feature multi-track conferences with prominent speakers, the FintechHK Global Final, the Global Fast Track Programme, exhibitions, deal floors, networking events, demo shows and more. In its fifth edition, Hong Kong Fintech Week will completely reinvent event experience, providing participants with access online from anywhere in the world.

Find out more here.
  Wine & Dine Festival 2020 goes virtual (Hong Kong)
In view of the pandemic, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has announced that the “Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival” will take on a virtual format this year. Organizing the event virtually can boost local economy without compromising the health and safety of the exhibitors and participants. As in previous editions, wine merchants will be able to promote their products, and opportunities will be generated for related sectors. The event will sustain Hong Kong’s global exposure by promoting the city’s image as a culinary capital to visitors worldwide.

Find out more here.
  Together, we fight the virus!
  Useful links  
  Tender notifications  
safehuarding National Security in Hong Kong
Updates on Latest Situation in Hong Kong
HKETO Sydney website Find us on FacebookLinkedin Find us on Facebook