No.4  April, 2021  
  Improve Electoral System

Direct Dialogue with the Chief Executive of HKSAR
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Sydney will host a special webinar on 6 May with the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, focusing on the immense business opportunities offered by Hong Kong to New Zealand businesses. In this webinar, participants will have the benefit of receiving first-hand information on the latest business landscape in Hong Kong, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development, as well as the business prospects for future developments.
Register here to join the event on 6 May (16:00 New Zealand time; 14:00 Sydney/Melbourne time; 12:00 Hong Kong time).

Latest from Hong Kong
  Government pressing ahead with necessary amendments to the relevant local electoral legislation
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government is pressing ahead with the necessary amendments to the relevant local electoral legislation according to the Decision of the National People’s Congress on improving the electoral system of HKSAR as well as the amended Annex I (Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR) and Annex II (Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR and its Voting Procedures) to the Basic Law, notably the Chief Executive Election Ordinance (Cap. 569), the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap. 542) and the relevant subsidiary legislation. The Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 (the Bill) was introduced into the Legislative Council for first reading and second reading on 14 April. The HKSAR Government will fully complement the work of the Legislative Council in scrutinising the Bill to strive for its early passage so as to kick start the extensive preparatory work for the elections.

Read more about the background and main content of improving the electoral system.
Click here for “A Layman's Guide to the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021”.


Hong Kong holds National Security Education Day
The National Security Education Day was held on 15 April. The day also marked the launch of the first National Security Education Day events organised by the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR. The event, with the theme of "Uphold National Security, Safeguard Our Home - Improve Electoral System, Ensure Patriots Administering Hong Kong", aimed to raise Hong Kong residents’ awareness on national security, create a positive atmosphere of national security, enhance the capacity to fend off national security risks, deepen understanding of the National Constitution, the Basic Law and national security, and foster national identity. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, said national security and political security are inseparable. To achieve genuine national security, governance must be firmly held in the hands of patriots.

Details here.

SCED briefs various sectors on improvements to electoral system of Hong Kong
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, briefed representatives of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers' and Exporters' Association and the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong on 31 March on the amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law as approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. At the meeting, Mr Yau reiterated the necessity and urgency of improving the electoral system, highlighting its importance on creating a stable business environment and ensuring Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. He called on different sectors of the community, including the commercial and industrial sectors, to fully support the relevant amendments. Mr Yau also brief representatives of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (1 April); representatives of small and medium enterprises and the tourism and hotel sectors (7 April); representatives from the wholesale and retail sector (8 April); representatives from the textiles and garment sector (9 April); representatives from the publishing sector (12 April); and representatives from sectors including broadcasting, film, music and performing arts (13 April).

Details here.
Designated flights under Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble to begin on 26 May
The HKSAR Government on 26 April announced that flights under the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB) would begin on 26 May with more stringent public health protocols. Under the more stringent measures, Hong Kong residents travelling under the ATB can only take designated flights to Singapore at least 14 days after they have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Announcing the scheme's relaunch at a press conference, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said the vaccination requirement was aimed at encouraging Hong Kong citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible for better self-protection against COVID-19 when travelling. Riding on the original arrangement, the HKSAR and Singapore governments will impose more stringent measures on travel history prior to departure, the mechanism to suspend or resume the ATB and contact tracing. Mr Yau hoped the ATB, if successfully implemented, could serve as the basis upon which similar arrangements could be made with other economies. "For instance, immediately after the agreement with Singapore, I am going to let some other partners, for instance New Zealand, Australia know that we have this arrangement and we can use that as a basis for further discussion with them. And subject to a bilateral consensus, I think this process can be carried on, " he said.

Details here. Read the press release here.
Chief Executive attends Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference
The Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 in Hainan on 20 April and held a number of bilateral meetings. The theme of this year's conference is "A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation". President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech with the theme of "Pulling Together Through Adversity and Toward a Shared Future for All" via video at the opening ceremony, while Vice President Wang Qishan attended in person. Mrs Lam attended the session "Invigorate Development through Vibrant City Clusters: The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) as a Model" to discuss with participating guests on topics including how the GBA can draw on the development experiences of various city clusters around the world, construct a focused area of global innovation and technology (I&T) and emerging industries, and attract talents. Mrs Lam also attended the Women Roundtable with women's power and social responsibility as the theme to discuss with outstanding women leaders from around the world how women can take up social responsibility in a better way and participate in economic activities more proactively in the post-pandemic era.

Details here.
Hong Kong talent to flourish in Belt and Road
Hong Kong has much to look forward to in the Belt and Road Initiative, thanks to its "One country, Two systems" framework and deepening economic integration with the Mainland, said the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam. Delivering a speech at the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Belt and Road Forum 2021 on 16 April, Mrs Lam said the 14th Five-Year Plan, approved by the National People's Congress last month, supports the continuing enhancement of Hong Kong's status as an international hub for finance, trade and logistic; as a centre for innovation and technology; and as an East-meets-West hub for art and cultural exchange. Hong Kong's singular advantages have placed it in the enviable role of facilitator and promoter between China and the countries of the Belt and Road, she said, adding that Hong Kong has the talent and the experience to flourish in the Belt and Road's continuing progress.

Details here.
Chief Executive addresses Japanese business community on Hong Kong's latest developments
The Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, on 26 April addressed more than 800 Japanese entrepreneurs and business executives during a webinar on "Hong Kong as a pro-business gateway to China", in which she highlighted how Hong Kong's strong fundamentals and unique advantages under "One Country, Two Systems" make it an ideal partner for Japanese enterprises to tap the vast market in the Mainland of China, in particular the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). Mrs Lam emphasised that "One Country, Two Systems" is not only the bedrock of Hong Kong's stability and continued success, but also regarded by the Central Authorities as an institutional strength of the nation. She said that the two important Decisions made by the National People's Congress in the past year, namely the enactment and implementation of the national security law and the improvement to the electoral system of the HKSAR, have put the implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" in the HKSAR back on the right track, enabling the city to flourish while leveraging such unique strengths. She also said that Hong Kong’s competitive strengths were highlighted in the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development. The huge market and growth potential of the GBA presents unlimited opportunities not only to Hong Kong but also to the world.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic measures
  • The compulsory quarantine period for persons arriving at Hong Kong on or after 9 April, and who have only stayed in Australia, New Zealand or Singapore on the day of arrival in Hong Kong or during the 21 days before that day, will be shortened to 14 days, while they will be required to self-monitor for the subsequent seven days and be subject to compulsory testing on the 19th day after their arrival at Hong Kong.

  • The Government announced on 18 April the invocation of the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. From 00:00 on April 20, all passenger flights from these places will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days.

  • Egypt to be included as one of high-risk Group B specified places, effective from April 20, to more effectively combat the epidemic.

  • The COVID-19 Vaccination Programme is expanded to cover persons aged 16 to 29. The minimum age for receiving the BioNTech vaccine is 16, and that for receiving the Sinovac vaccine is 18.

  • The Government announced the relaxation of social distancing measures with the "vaccine bubble" as the basis, which will take effect until 12 May:
    • bars or pubs, clubs or nightclubs, bathhouses, party rooms, karaoke establishments and mahjong-tin kau premises can resume operation if they can fulfil the requirements under the "vaccine bubble".
    • The number of people allowed in wedding ceremonies, shareholders' annual meetings of listed companies and religious activities will be increased if all participants aged 16 or above have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • The Government extended from 29 April the Return2hk Travel Scheme from Guangdong Province and Macao to other Mainland provinces and municipalities.
Read more from the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
Tourism Commission launches additional City in Time spots
Hong Kong’s Tourism Commission launched the second phase of the City in Time tourism project in five districts on 14 April by installing additional augmented reality (AR) markers in designated locations in Central, the Peak, Sham Shui Po, Jordan and Yau Ma Tei. Locals and tourists can experience combinations of historical panoramas and real-life surroundings with their smartphones through the AR and multimedia technologies. To experience 360-degree historical panoramas featuring heritage photos or illustrations by young Hong Kong artists, locals and tourists can scan the AR markers installed on the visitor sign poles at the above designated locations using their smartphones with the "City in Time" mobile app downloaded. The mobile app is also equipped with a selfie function that enables users to share their City in Time experience with their friends on social media platforms.

Details here.
Volume and Price Statistics of External Merchandise Trade in February 2021
Further to the external merchandise trade statistics in value terms for February 2021 released earlier on, the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released on 19 April the volume and price statistics of external merchandise trade for that month. As the trade flows in January and February of each year tend to show considerable volatilities due to differences in timing of the Lunar New Year holidays, it is useful to analyse the trade figures for these two months taken together. Comparing the first two months of 2021 with the same period in 2020, the volume of Hong Kong's total exports of goods and imports of goods increased by 37.5% and 27.2% respectively. In February 2021, the volume of Hong Kong's total exports of goods and imports of goods increased by 29.5% and 16.5% respectively over February 2020. Details of the above statistics are published in the February 2021 issue of "Hong Kong Merchandise Trade Index Numbers". Users can download the publication at the website of the C&SD.

Details here.
Upcoming events
  StartmeupHK Festival (Online)
The StartmeupHK Festival 2021 is back on 24-28 May! As one of the world’s largest tech conferences, the StartmeupHK Festival is a powerful platform for international startups, investors, industry leaders, academia and governments to exchange ideas, make connections and define the future. The annual festival is curated by InvestHK, along with partner event organisers to support, showcase and connect Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem to the world, and attract innovative companies to its shores. In its sixth edition, the StartmeupHK Festival 2021 has remained virtual. It will feature 14 main events over the course of 5 days, including keynotes from world-renowned speakers, discussions around hot topics such as AI, fintech, ESG.

Learn more here.
  Art For Everyone @HKMoA (Hong Kong)
Art For Everyone @HKMoA is a city-wide art campaign that features artwork from the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA) across Hong Kong’s 18 districts. Between 23 March and 23 May 2021, 100 images of artwork selected from the HKMoA's collection will be showcased on over 450 billboards, digital displays and transport hubs, in outdoor and indoor spaces, presenting art for everyone, everywhere across the city. A first for Hong Kong, the campaign is introduced by and in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the not-for-profit organisation Friends of Hong Kong Museum of Art, established to support and promote the activities of HKMoA.

Learn more here.
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