Latest from Hong Kong
  Gold and silver medals for Hong Kong in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Hong Kong fencer Cheung Ka-long won the gold medal in the Men’s Foil Individual competition of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for Hong Kong on 26 July.  It is the first medal for Hong Kong at the Tokyo Olympics, and the first-ever Olympic fencing medal in Hong Kong’s history.  Extending her congratulations to Cheung, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mrs Carrie Lam, said his excellent result is testimony to the capability of Hong Kong athletes and makes all Hong Kong people proud.  She also hoped Hong Kong, China Delegation would continue to unleash their potential in the other events and achieve outstanding results.  Hong Kong swimming athlete Siobhan Bernadette Haughey also won a silver medal in the Women’s 100m and 200m Freestyle on 30 July and 28 July respectively for Hong Kong.  This is the first time a Hong Kong athlete had won two medals at the same Olympic Games.  Mrs Lam extended her heartfelt congratulations to Haughey and highlighted that Haughey’s achievement has started a new chapter in Hong Kong swimming.

See the Chief Executive’s congratulations to Cheung Ka-long and Siobhan Bernadette Haughey.

Hong Kong the best place in Asia for business and investment
Hong Kong - with its prime location, unrivalled connections to China, East Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and stability restored - is the best place in Asia for business and for investment, said the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau.  At present, about 9 000 Mainland and overseas companies have set up offices in Hong Kong, of which more than 40% use Hong Kong as regional headquarters or regional offices.  Hong Kong also ranked the third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2020 according to the World Investment Report 2021 released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.  Mr Yau also pointed out that Hong Kong has always been the most welcoming place for doing business and popular among multinational firms for they see Hong Kong offering rules-based, open and competitive trading environment to all.

See the statement by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development here.

Chief Executive attends APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat
The Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Informal Leaders’ Retreat via video conferencing on 16 July to exchange views with leaders of the other economies on strategies to fight against COVID-19 and accelerate economic recovery.  The retreat was hosted by the Prime Minister of New Zealand and Chair of APEC 2021, Ms Jacinda Ardern.  Participating leaders took turns sharing their views on collaboration opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region to emerge from the health crisis and accelerate the economic recovery in a manner that would lay the foundation for a better future.  Mrs Lam called on APEC member economies to pursue areas for further collaboration, including collective efforts to remove unnecessary trade barriers and enhance trade facilitation to support open and effective supply chains for vaccines, gradually resume cross-border travel when public health conditions are met, facilitate research and development, enhance the application of technology to prevent the spread of the virus in the community and to cure the infected.  The leaders would meet again virtually at the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November this year.

Details here.
Hong Kong welcomes consensus largely reached on BEPS 2.0 framework
On 2 July, Hong Kong joins 129 jurisdictions globally in welcoming the framework for international tax reform (commonly referred to as BEPS 2.0) to ensure a fairer distribution of taxing rights in respect of profits of large multinational enterprises (MNEs) and to set a global minimum tax rate.  Financial Secretary Paul Chan said Hong Kong, as an international financial and commercial centre, has all along supported international efforts to enhance tax transparency and combat tax evasion, and has adopted corresponding measures, adding that small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong would not be affected by the BEPS 2.0 package.  Mr Chan also stressed that insofar as the large MNEs to be covered by the package are concerned, the Government would endeavour to maintain Hong Kong’s simple, transparent and low tax regime and minimise their compliance burden.

Details here
Chief Executive attends National Security Law Legal Forum
The Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, attended the National Security Law Legal Forum - Security Brings Prosperity on 5 July hosted by the Department of Justice of the HKSAR Government in commemoration of the first anniversary of the National Security Law.  Mrs Lam pointed out that when talking about the unique advantages of Hong Kong, the rule of law is always among the first to be mentioned.  To support the rule of law in society, in addition to having clear and explicit laws, robust legal institutions, prosecution power free from any interference and independent judicial power, the public needs to abide by the law and it is important for the public to understand the legal provisions and their application.  The HKSAR Government has therefore organised more activities in recent years to promote the Constitution, the Basic Law and the National Security Law, with a view to consolidating and strengthening the rule of law in Hong Kong.  Mrs Lam also emphasised that the HKSAR Government would continue to strengthen and deepen the work on safeguarding national security.

Details here.
Fourth Joint Conference on Advancing Hong Kong’s Full Participation in and Contribution to Belt and Road Initiative held
Speaking at a video conference on 12 July with the National Development and Reform Commission, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said that the Belt and Road Initiative has experienced continuous organic growth and has become the world’s broadest-based and largest platform for international co-operation.  Hong Kong would actively participate in the national strategy of “dual circulation” development and promote Hong Kong’s diversified economic developments by making the best use of the opportunities provided by the Belt and Road initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development.  At the meeting, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau also said that the HKSAR Government would make the best use of the city’s international connections and its compliance with international practices to seize Belt and Road opportunities during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.  Hong Kong would also strive to expand its international ties and seek early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Details here.
56 253 companies newly registered in first six months of 2021
At the end of June, Hong Kong’s Companies Registry has a total of over 1.3 million local companies registered, with 56 253 newly registered during the first half of the year.  The number of newly registered local companies showed an increase of 11.07% over the figure in the second half of 2020.  A total of 662 non-Hong Kong companies were newly registered in the January-June period, with the total number of non-Hong Kong companies reaching 14 044 by the end of June.

Details here.
Cross-Agency Steering Group announces next steps to advance Hong Kong’s green and sustainable finance strategy
Hong Kong would focus on climate-related disclosures and sustainability reporting, carbon market opportunities and the launch of a new Centre for Green and Sustainable Finance to bolster the city’s position as a leader in green and sustainable finance and help transition the financial ecosystem towards carbon neutrality.  Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Eddie Yue said the launch of the centre would create a focal point to bring together policy makers, financial market professionals, the academia and other stakeholders for deeper exchange and collaboration.  Chief Executive Officer of the Securities and Futures Commission Ashley Alder said Hong Kong can lead the way in climate reporting by adopting the first set of global sustainability standards to ensure that consistent, comparable and reliable information is available to help investors understand the extent to which their portfolios are exposed to climate risks and they are financing emissions.

Details here.
More than Five million register for Consumption Voucher Scheme
As at 14 July, about 5 540 000 registrations have been received for the Consumption Voucher Scheme, among which over 5 420 000 were electronic registrations.  Under the Scheme, eligible Hong Kong permanent residents and new arrivals aged 18 or above and who has not been absent from Hong Kong continuously for the 24 months immediately before 18 June, 2021, may make an electronic registration through the Consumption Voucher Scheme website.  Exemptions include performing overseas duties for a company on a temporary basis, studying abroad, or hospitalised outside Hong Kong.  The disbursement of the vouchers would encourage the public to spend in local retail, catering and service sectors using the convenient stored value facilities, boosting consumer sentiment and accelerating local economic recovery.  The Scheme would also help local small-and-medium merchants explore potential business opportunities by adopting electronic payments.  The scheme is open for registration until 14 August.

Details here.

More information on Consumption Voucher Scheme can be found here.
Air Travel Bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore further postponed
The Governments of the HKSAR and Singapore are keeping the developments of the COVID-19 epidemic situation, particularly in Singapore, under review to decide on the way forward for the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB).  On 20 July, a spokesman for the HKSAR Government said that given the recent surge of confirmed cases in Singapore, the condition for launching the ATB could not be met for the time being.  Both sides agreed that a review of the way forward could be conducted in late August, taking into account the effectiveness of the enhanced infection control measures implemented by Singapore and the global situation at that time.

For details of the ATB, please refer to the designated website:
10th Anniversary of Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark
To mark the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark (Hong Kong Geopark), the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) held the 10th anniversary celebration programme kick-off ceremony cum community seminar on 11 July at the Hong Kong Science Museum.  Speaking at the kick-off ceremony, the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, said that Geopark is not only limited to geo-conservation, but also preserves the history and cultural heritage of various communities which have been handed down through centuries.  He also pointed out that the AFCD would later introduce two new facilities: Kat O Heritage Trail and the revamped Lai Chi Wo Geoheritage Centre to enhance visitors’ experience and further promote local history, cultural and intangible cultural heritage.  The AFCD would roll out a series of public activities in the next six months, including public talks, roving exhibitions and community fairs.  Through these activities, visitors would learn more about Hong Kong Geopark from various perspectives and experience its unique geological, ecological and cultural features.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic measures
  • The Government announced that it would maintain social distancing measures until 18 August.
    • Prohibition on group gatherings of more than four persons in public places to continue.
    • Mandatory mask-wearing requirement to continue.
    • All catering businesses must operate according to one of the operating modes among Types A, B, C and D Mode of Operation.  Type B Mode of Operation will be tightened whereby staff members who have not completed the COVID-19 vaccination course would be required to undergo testing once every 7 days.

  • In view of the recent rebound of the epidemic situation in Russia and a number of cases with L452R mutant virus strains detected by tests from arrivals who have stayed in Russia, the Government has specified Russia as a very high-risk Group A2 specified place with effect from 16 July (to be re-categorised under Group A specified place with effect from 9 August).

  • The Government announced that members of the public have the responsibility to, at the time of vaccination in Hong Kong, provide truthful statements regarding their health and vaccination situation.  Under the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, the Government’s current arrangement is to provide people who had never received any COVID-19 vaccines with two doses and those who were previously infected with one dose.
    • For people arriving in Hong Kong who had received the first dose in places outside Hong Kong, they need to honestly convey to the healthcare service provider responsible for administering the vaccine the details of the first dose in order to be considered for the second dose.
    • People arriving in Hong Kong who had completed the entire vaccination course in places outside Hong Kong do not need to receive extra doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • More hotel rooms would be provided in the fifth cycle of Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme (DQH) due to the strong demand for rooms under the fourth cycle.  A total of 37 hotels would provide about 10 000 rooms.

  • The Government will tighten the border control measures for overseas inbound travellers based on "vaccine bubble" in order to build an anti-epidemic barrier to prevent the importation of cases.  The new measures will take effect from 9 August.  Under the new measures, the Government will adopt a risk-based approach and re-categorise overseas places into Group A (high-risk), Group B (medium-risk) and Group C (low-risk) specified places taking into account a basket of factors.  Boarding, quarantine and testing requirements will be implemented based on risk levels.  Only fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents are allowed to board flights for Hong Kong from high-risk places.  For medium-risk places, only Hong Kong residents and fully vaccinated non-Hong Kong residents are allowed to board flights for Hong Kong.  Anyone who boards a flight for Hong Kong from overseas places has to comply with three basic requirements, including:
    • Present prior to boarding (i) a negative result proof of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the aircraft and (ii) confirmation of room reservation at a DQH for the required compulsory quarantine duration;
    • Subject to “test and hold“ arrangement at the airport upon arrival in Hong Kong; and
    • Upon confirmation of negative test result, board the designated transport arranged by the Government to go to a DQH to undergo compulsory quarantine.

  • From 9 August, Australia and New Zealand will be renamed from Group D specified places (low-risk) as Group C specified places (low-risk).  Hong Kong residents and non-Hong Kong residents who have only stayed in Group C specified place(s), during the day of boarding for/arrival in Hong Kong or during the 14 days before that day will need to:
             If fully vaccinated
    • Present negative result proof of a PCR-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the aircraft, confirmation of room reservation for 7 nights and vaccination record.
    • Undergo compulsory quarantine for 7 days in a DQH, 2 tests during compulsory quarantine, self-monitoring in the subsequent 7 days and compulsory testing on the 9th and 12th days of arrival in Hong Kong.

      If not fully vaccinated
    • Present negative result proof of a PCR-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the aircraft and confirmation of room reservation for 14 nights.
    • Undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days in a DQH, 3 tests during compulsory quarantine, self-monitoring in the subsequent 7 days and compulsory testing on the 16th and 19th days of arrival in Hong Kong.

Read more from the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
Upcoming events
  Belt and Road Summit 2021 (Hong Kong)
To be held on 1-2 September, the Belt and Road Summit is a premier international platform for promoting business collaboration along the Belt and Road.  The Summit gathers senior government officials and business leaders from countries and regions along and beyond the Belt and Road to exchange insights on multilateral co-operation and explore concrete business opportunities.

More information here
  2021 Hong Kong Brands & Products Shopping Festival (Hong Kong)
2021 Hong Kong Brands & Products Shopping Festival, to be held from 6-8 August, offers splendid shopping and fun experiences for visitors, featuring 250 booths with a wide range of products, including Food & Beverages, Food Plaza, Ginseng, Dried Seafood, Grocery & Noodles, Living & Household, Beauty & Healthcare, Electronic, Fashion & Stylish and Children’s products.  An exciting line-up of special stage programmes, lucky draws and game booths would be arranged for the visitors to explore.

More information here.
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