No.12  December, 2018  
Bilateral relations
Design from Melbourne and Victoria showcased at BODW 2018 in Hong Kong
Asia’s leading annual design event, Business of Design Week (BODW), which was staged by Hong Kong Design Centre, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Create Hong Kong, was held in Hong Kong from 3 to 8 December. More than 70 speakers from over 15 countries and regions were featured to present the latest industry insights and promote the advancement of the creative industries. This year Melbourne has taken centre stage as the event’s partner city, showcasing a program of 200+ designers, design organisations and institutions under the theme ‘Think · Collaborate · Create’. The Melbourne Pavilion has been a key component of the program. Read more about the BODW and Melbourne’s participation in the event.
  16 scholars of New Colombo Plan 2019 bound for Hong Kong
The 2019 New Colombo Plan scholars were announced on 26 November. The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region. The plan will support 125 scholars from across Australia to live, study, learn a language and gain work experience in 24 locations throughout the Indo-Pacific in 2019. Hong Kong will be the destination of 16 scholars in the 2019 New Colombo Plan. Read more here.
  Zero tariffs top Hong Kong trade talks
The future is looking good for Aussie farmers with zero tariffs to be locked in for agriculture exports to Hong Kong. In a press release issued on 21 November, the Australian Minister for Agriculture, Mr David Littleproud, said the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement would lock in those zero tariffs and support an AUD$1.4 billion agricultural trade relationship. "The Coalition Government is delivering new markets and better tariffs for our farmers," Minister Littleproud said. "Zero tariffs for our agriculture exports to Hong Kong means we can keep exporting the high-quality produce we are known for," he added. Read more about the press release.
Latest from Hong Kong
WTO Members commend Hong Kong for its free trade regime
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) commended Hong Kong, China (HKC) again for its free and open trade regime at the Trade Policy Review meeting successfully concluded in Geneva, Switzerland, on 28 November. Leading the HKC delegation, Director-General of Trade and Industry, Ms Salina Yan, said the delegation is encouraged by WTO Members' commendation of Hong Kong’s free and open trade policies and unwavering support for the multilateral trading system. “We are also pleased with Members' recognition of Hong Kong’s continuous efforts in maintaining a liberal trade and investment regime, achievements in trade facilitation and strong engagement in various aspects of WTO work”, she added. Speaking at the meeting, Ms Yan said over the years, the rules-based multilateral trading system has proven to be crucial to the continued growth and sustainable development of Members' economies. As a founding Member of the WTO, HKC pitches strongly for this system, and will continue to play an active and constructive role in strengthening it. Read more here.
  IMF commends Hong Kong's strong buffers and robust policy frameworks
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Mission has commended the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in its latest assessment, noting that many years of prudent macroeconomic policies have endowed the city with strong buffers to navigate through challenges and ensure continued stability despite increasing risks confronting global growth. The assessment was made in the Concluding Statement of the IMF Mission published on 12 December, following the 2018 Article IV Consultation with the HKSAR. The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said he welcomes the IMF's reassuring forecast for Hong Kong and reaffirmation of Hong Kong’s strong buffers and robust policy frameworks. “While we are well placed to navigate the challenges ahead, the Government will stay vigilant in monitoring risks, and spare no efforts in boosting economic vibrancy and promoting economic growth,” he added. Read more here.
Hong Kong remains a magnet for overseas and Mainland businesses
According to the 2018 Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located Outside Hong Kong jointly conducted by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) and the Census and Statistics Department, the number of business operations in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas and in Mainland China climbed 6.4 per cent to 8,754 in 2018, compared to 8,225 a year ago. The 8,754 respondent companies comprised 1,530 operating as regional headquarters (RHQs), 2,425 as regional offices and 4,799 as local offices. The number of RHQs showed a robust growth of 8.3 per cent from 1,413 last year, revealing the key role Hong Kong plays for many businesses across Asia. The Director-General of Investment Promotion, Mr Stephen Phillips, said on 12 December that Hong Kong remains a magnet for overseas and Mainland businesses while its start-up ecosystem is thriving. Read more here.
Hong Kong Immigration Department wins Radiant Pioneer Award
The Hong Kong Immigration Department’s Smart Departure, a self-service departure for visitors to Hong Kong by employing face recognition technology for identity verification, has won the Radiant Pioneer Award from the Asia Pacific Smart Card Association. The Award aims to recognise pioneering applications of smart technology in public sector identity schemes for the provision of quality services to visitors. The trophy was received during a presentation ceremony held on 12 December at the 5th Border Management and Identity Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The department first launched the Smart Departure at Hong Kong International Airport in October, 2017, and the service was extended to other control points. Smart Departure facilitates self-service departure for eligible visitors without the need of prior enrolment. It has been providing greater travel convenience for visitors while enhancing the effectiveness of immigration control. Read more here.
Upcoming events
  Asian Financial Forum 2019 (Hong Kong)
Themed "Creating a Sustainable and Inclusive Future", the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) 2019 will be staged on 14 and 15 January, 2019. Co-organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the annual AFF is Asia’s premier platform for the exchange of innovative ideas, intelligence and partnership opportunities. It will bring together some of the most influential members of the global financial and business community to discuss developments and trends in the dynamic markets of Asia. Find out more here.
  Startmeup 2019 (Hong Kong)
The StartmeupHK Festival, to be held from 21 to 25 January, 2019, is a unique platform for startups, entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, students and academics to exchange ideas, make connections and chart a course for the future. The festival will feature keynotes from world-renowned speakers, interactive how-to sessions, hackathons, and valuable lessons from celebrated founders and investors in fintech, healthtech, smart city technologies, IOT, retail and logistics innovation, edtech and much more. Find out more here.
  The "Chatswood Year of the Pig Festival” 2019 (Australia)
The “Chatswood Year of the Pig Festival” 2019, to be held from from 29 January to 19 February 2019 in Chatswood, Sydney, will include a variety of cultural events and performances that will transport visitors to celebrations across China and other Asian destinations. Highlights include the Golden Market (a traditional end-of-year food and fashion market) from 29 January to 8 February, the Lunar New Year Twilight Parade, the Taste of Asia Food Tours and Flicks for Piglets (free screenings every evening of Chinese and English films for families). The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney will participate in the event and two festive photo booths featuring Hong Kong will be set up for visitors to take photos to promote the Asia’s world city. Find out more about the Festival here.
  Sydney Lunar Festival Dragon Boat Races 2019 (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 9 and 10 February 2019. A “Hong Kong Team” will compete in the Social Category of the races on 10 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 2019 (New Zealand)
To celebrate the Year of the Pig 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 14 to 17 February 2019 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 the Lantern Festival here.
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