No.5  May, 2019  
Bilateral relations
  Australia the next destination of joint overseas promotion of the Greater Bay Area
Speaking at the Australia-China Business Awards Gala Dinner hosted by AustCham on 28 May, the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, said Hong Kong and Australia had indeed very close trade relations and very strong people-to-people bonds. Looking ahead is even more exciting because Australia and Hong Kong had signed the Free Trade Agreement and related Investment Agreement which Mrs Lam said would bring a lot more opportunities to the two places. On the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area), Mrs Lam said it provided plenty of opportunities not only for Hong Kong, Macao and the other nine cities in Guangdong, but also for the whole of Mainland and overseas countries. So she had advocated joint overseas promotion of the Greater Bay Area with the first attempt in Paris last June and the second one in Tokyo, Japan. She was pleased to announce that the next destination of overseas promotion would be Australia.

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  Presence of Australian business in HOFEX Hong Kong 2019
Over 50 Australian food and beverage companies, industrial bodies and government agencies participated in the Australian Pavilion at HOFEX held in Hong Kong from 7 to 10 May. Buyers were able to explore and taste a diverse selection of food and beverage products from Australia including meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, seafood, fruits, vegetables, ambient snack foods and baked goods, organic and health products, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. At the Tasmanian Government-backed stall, eight local food and beverage producers were introduced to trade delegates. A business delegation from Queensland also grabbed those opportunities at HOFEX, with exhibitors from as far north as Townsville and south to Goondiwindi. HOFEX is Asia’s leading food and hospitality trade show held biannually in Hong Kong. It brings together a comprehensive selection of food and drinks, hospitality equipment and supplies from around the world to Asia and is a key opportunity for businesses aiming to grow their markets across Asia.

Read more here.
Bilateral relations
21st Plenary of Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held
The Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Ma Xingrui, co-chaired the 21st Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Guangzhou on 16 May. Mrs Lam said it was the first plenary meeting held after the promulgation of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Outline Development Plan) and that both she and Governor Ma had set out clear directions and goals on the implementation of the Outline Development Plan and further collaboration between Hong Kong and Guangdong. At the meeting, both sides reached consensus on a range of areas of co-operation, and signed the 2019 Work Plan of the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation which covers nine areas, namely cross-boundary infrastructure development and clearance facilitation; jointly developing an international innovation and technology hub; fostering co-operation in modern service industries; taking forward exchanges and co-operation in education, talents and youth; developing an internationalised business environment; jointly developing a quality living circle; jointly participating in the Belt and Road Initiative; taking forward the development of key co-operation platforms; and arrangement of a mechanism.

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  New highway in North District of Hong Kong opens to traffic
The Heung Yuen Wai Highway, opened on 26 May, can improve the traffic in North District of Hong Kong and, in particular, alleviate the busy traffic conditions in the area around Sha Tau Kok Road. With a total length of about 11 kilometres, the highway connects the Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, which is now under construction, to the Fanling Highway near Kau Lung Hang. With four interchanges along the highway, the Heung Yuen Wai Highway comprises the 4.8km Lung Shan Tunnel, the 0.7km Cheung Shan Tunnel and 5.5km of viaducts and at-grade roads. The section of the Heung Yuen Wai Highway between the Fanling Highway Interchange and the Lin Ma Hang Road Interchange was opened to the public from 26 May. Upon completion of the Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, the highway will seamlessly connect the boundary control point, providing efficient cross-boundary access between Hong Kong and eastern Shenzhen, Huizhou and eastern Guangdong, enhancing the "one-hour living circle" in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

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  Hong Kong ranked as world's second most competitive economy
Hong Kong has continued to rank second globally in the latest World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2019 as published by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). The WCY 2019, released by the IMD in Switzerland on 28 May (Switzerland time), assessed 63 economies worldwide. A Hong Kong Government spokesperson said that the WCY once again recognised Hong Kong as one of the most competitive economies in the world. Analysed by the WCY’s four competitiveness factors, Hong Kong maintained the top rank in “Government efficiency”, and was ranked second in “Business efficiency” and 10th in “Economic performance”. Benefiting from the Government’s increased investment in areas such as infrastructure and innovation and technology, as well as education, Hong Kong’s ranking edged up to 22nd in “Infrastructure”.

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  Inaugural Hong Kong Laureate forum to be held in 2021
Leaders in science, academia and business, including four Shaw laureates, pledged their support for the inaugural Hong Kong Laureate Forum at a ceremony on 14 May attended by the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam. The Forum, to be held in November 2021 in Hong Kong, aims to inspire young scientists from around the world through participation in a week-long programme comprising world-class seminars, dialogues, workshops etc. It will also provide ample opportunities for exchanges between Shaw laureates and young scientists. The Forum, conceived by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, will be organised by the Council of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum formed by distinguished personalities and academics of Hong Kong. Mrs Lam said innovation and technology has topped her Government's policy agenda since she took office on July 1, 2017, adding that the Hong Kong Laureate Forum could build an interest and enthusiasm for science among the younger generation by creating opportunities for direct exchange and inspiring dialogue with some of the brightest minds in science.

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  Four more virtual banking licences granted by Hong Kong Monetary Authority
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced on 9 May that it had granted four more virtual banking licences. According to their business plans, these four newly licenced virtual banks intended to launch their services in around six to nine months. The Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Norman Chan, said the HKMA is now working closely with the eight virtual bank licensees to prepare for the launch of their business operations in accordance with their plans. He said the launch of virtual banks in Hong Kong, which is a key component of the Smart Banking Initiatives, would certainly facilitate financial innovation, enhance customer experience and financial inclusion. The HKMA will closely monitor the operations of virtual banks after they have commenced business, including customers’ reactions to the new modes of delivery of financial services as well as the impact of these virtual banks on the banking sector in general.

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  FTA between Hong Kong and ASEAN enters into force
The commitments made under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) among Hong Kong and three ASEAN member states, namely Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, will enter into force on 11 June. The dates of entry into force of the FTA for the remaining seven ASEAN member states will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. Upon the implementation of the FTA, on trade in goods, Singapore commits to binding all its customs duties at zero, whereas Myanmar and Thailand will progressively eliminate and reduce their customs duties on goods originating from Hong Kong. On trade in services, upon the implementation of the FTA and in respect of Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, Hong Kong service providers will enjoy better business opportunities and legal certainty in market access for a comprehensive range of services sectors. ASEAN comprises 10 member states, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Hong Kong and ASEAN signed the FTA and an Investment Agreement (IA) at the end of 2017.

Read more here.
Upcoming events
  Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival (Hong Kong)
Building on the colourful Tuen Ng Festival, the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival has enjoyed a lot of attention from visitors and locals. This year, the world’s top dragon boat athletes will battle it out at the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races - three days of intense racing from 14 to 16 June - that fill the harbour with heart-pounding action, a profusion of colour and the sounds of drummers and fans cheering paddlers on to the finish line. In celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, teams from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao will be invited to compete for the coveted ‘70A Trophy’ in Hong Kong.

Find out more here.
  E-Sports & Music Festival 2019 (Hong Kong)
Top gamers from around the world will be competing for glory at the E-Sports & Music Festival, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 26 to 28 July. The three-day event will be packed with the hottest e-sports tournaments and the latest e-games, VR games, products and a host of music and entertainment.

Find out more here.
  Belt and Road Summit (Hong Kong)
A premier international platform for promoting business collaboration along the Belt and Road, the Belt and Road Summit will be held from 11 to 12 September in Hong Kong. Jointly organised by the HKSAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Summit will gather 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.

Find out more here about joining the Summit.
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