No.1  January, 2021  
Latest from Hong Kong
Asian Financial Forum examines opportunities and challenges in new global economic landscape
The 14th Asian Financial Forum, co-organised by the HKSAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, opened on 18 January under the theme “Reshaping World Economic Landscape”. More than 5 000 influential global policymakers, financial experts, business leaders, economists, investors and entrepreneurs from some 70 countries and regions signed up to participate online. It was the first time the participants signed up for the forum online to examine opportunities and challenges for finance, investment and business in the new global economic landscape. In a video speech, the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, pointed out that Hong Kong's fundamentals remain strong amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said Hong Kong's financial system has demonstrated its strengths and resilience, and the financial markets continue to operate orderly. With its unique advantages as the international financial centre of China and one of the world's major financial cities, Hong Kong will continue to see enormous opportunities when the pandemic is over, Mrs Lam added. The Financial Secretary of the HKSAR, Mr Paul Chan, also pointed out in his remarks that the emerging cluster-city development integrating Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong Province is primed to reward our financial services sector in many ways. The upsurge in cross-boundary funds will consolidate Hong Kong's position as the premier global hub for the offshore Renminbi business.

Details about the Forum and speeches of the Chief Executive and Financial Secretary.
HKSAR Government refutes joint statement by three foreign ministers and US Secretary of State
In response to a joint statement on arrests in Hong Kong made by the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State, a Hong Kong Government spokesman said on 10 January that it is the Hong Kong SAR's constitutional responsibilities to safeguard national security. Since the promulgation for the application of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR (the National Security Law) in Hong Kong, the HKSAR Government has been discharging its duty to safeguard national security in Hong Kong lawfully and dutifully. Safeguarding national security through legislation is in line with international practice. The National Security Law, or indeed any law in the HKSAR, applies equally to every person in Hong Kong. Taking people who have contravened the law to justice is the duty of every government, and where the offence concerns national security, the interests of the country and every citizen are at stake. This national obligation should be fully respected in the international arena.

Details here.
Independent judiciary crucial
The new Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, Mr Andrew Cheung Kui-nung, was sworn in on 11 January. Speaking at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year 2021 on the same day, the Chief Justice pointed out that the Judiciary must be and must remain an independent and impartial judiciary. Amongst other things, judicial independence means the Judiciary, the courts and the judges, when discharging their judicial functions, must not be subject to improper extraneous pressure or influence. Attempts to exert undue pressure on judges by means such as threats of violence or doxxing are as futile as they are reprehensible. The appropriate way to question a court’s decision is by means of appeal or review. He said people must have faith in Hong Kong’s common law system and allow the appeals process to run its course. He also explained that there are built-in features in Hong Kong’s judicial system that ensure that the Judiciary and judges are accountable to the public for their works.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic measures
  • Any person who has stayed in UK, South Africa, Brazil or Ireland for more than two hours on the day of boarding or during the 21 days before that day will not be allowed to board for Hong Kong.

  • A total of 36 hotels will provide about 10 000 rooms under the second round of the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme, offering rooms of various types and rates for selection by returnees to Hong Kong.

  • The Return2hk Scheme’s (Travel Scheme for Hong Kong Residents returning from Guangdong Province or Macao without being subject to quarantine under the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation) online booking system opens for booking 24/7 to facilitate members of the public to apply for available quotas through the system anytime.

  • The Government estimates that starting in February 2021, members of the public can get vaccinated through vaccination programmes led by the Government free of charge. The goal is to provide vaccines for the majority of the population within 2021.

  • Construction of the temporary hospital adjacent to AsiaWorld-Expo, now named "North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre", has been completed.

  • Save for those involved in provision of emergency services and essential public services and in anti-epidemic efforts, all other government employees will be arranged to continue to work from home until 27 January 2021.

  • The social distancing measures currently in place will be maintained until 27 January 2021:
    • prohibition on group gatherings of more than two people in public places;
    • requirements and restrictions applicable to catering business and scheduled premises;
    • mandatory mask wearing when on public transport and in all public places.
Read more from the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
  Culture and Tourism Development Plan for Greater Bay Area welcomed
The HKSAR Government on 4 January welcomes the joint promulgation of the Culture and Tourism Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (the Plan) by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Office of the Leading Group for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province. The Plan sets out the directions for the overall cultural and tourism development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) and guides the development of the Greater Bay Area into an exchange hub for culture of the East and the West and a world-class tourism destination. It also helps strengthen the positions of Hong Kong as an international cultural metropolis and an international tourism hub. When the pandemic is over, the HKSAR Government will continue to leverage Hong Kong’s strengths as the Asia’s world city and best utilise Hong Kong’s well-established marine, land and air connections as well as its rich tourism resources, to attract overseas tourists to embark on Greater Bay Area multi-destination journeys via Hong Kong.

Details here.
  Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme launched
The HKSAR Government announced on 8 January the launch of the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme for which interested enterprises can apply to offer job vacancies for young people. The scheme, one of the measures announced by the Chief Executive in the 2020 Policy Address, aims to encourage and support young people to work and pursue their careers in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area, help them understand the latest developments of both Hong Kong and those cities and leverage the opportunities for career advancement in the Greater Bay Area. Participating enterprises shall employ the eligible graduates locally under Hong Kong laws, and shall station the graduates in Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area to work and receive on-the-job training. The scheme provides 2 000 places, around 700 of which are designated for innovation and technology posts. The Government will grant a monthly allowance of HK$10,000 to enterprises for each graduate employed for up to 18 months.

Details here.
  Roundtable meeting promotes co-operation on Belt and Road Initiative
A roundtable meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative was jointly organised by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the HKSAR Government, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority online on 8 January to promote co-operation between state-owned enterprises (SoEs) and Hong Kong's business and professional services sector. The meeting was joined by more than 100 representatives from 25 SoEs, with nearly 100 enterprises or members from more than 10 professional services bodies in Hong Kong viewing it online. Speaking at the event, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said that Hong Kong, as a comprehensive functional platform for the initiative, is best placed to support SoEs in their Belt and Road projects. Mr Yau said Hong Kong's power on the financial, legal, management and other fronts could go hand-in-hand with the strengths of SoEs. He added that the city, as the prime functional platform for the Belt and Road Initiative, could support SoEs in investment and financing, logistics, commerce and trade by capitalising on its extensive international networks and strengths in the professional services as well as innovation and technology.

Details here.
  One-stop personalised digital services platform "iAM Smart" launched
The HKSAR Government launched on 30 December a one-stop personalised digital services platform "iAM Smart". The mobile app enables members of the public to access various government services online and pay utility bills with a single digital identity. The platform provides four major functions: authentication, form filling, personalised notification and digital signing. All Hong Kong Identity Card holders aged 11 or above are eligible to register for the app and they can perform remote registration using a personal mobile phone with biometric authentication. The public can access more than 20 commonly used online services of the Government and public utilities such as the two electricity and the gas companies once they registered. It is expected that by mid-2021, the number of public services accessible through the platform will increase to more than 110.

Details here.
  Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law of the HKSAR
The Basic Law is the constitutional document for the HKSAR. It enshrines within a legal document the important concepts of "One Country, Two Systems", "a high degree of autonomy" and "Hong Kong People administering Hong Kong". It also prescribes the various systems to be practised in the HKSAR. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law, the Working Group on Industrial, Commercial and Professional Sectors under the Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee has produced a video - "We Fly Because We Can". Watch the video to learn about the views of the industrial, commercial and professional sectors on the Basic Law and the advantages of “One Country, Two Systems”.

 Learn more about the Basic Law.
HKETO event
  Live streaming event of Asian Financial Forum
The Director of HKETO Sydney, Ms Winnie Chan, attended a live streaming event of Asian Financial Forum co-hosted by HKETO Sydney and HKTDC Sydney on 18 January at Hong Kong House in Sydney. Before the start of the live streaming, Ms Chan gave the attendees an update on the latest developments in Hong Kong. She said that being an international financial centre, Hong Kong has demonstrated the resilience and stability of the financial system in the faces of global economic downturn and pandemic to weather one crisis after another. As mentioned in the 2020 Policy Address, the HKSAR Government has proactively taken initiatives to consolidate Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre and strengthen our competitive edges.
Upcoming events
  Greater Bay Area Symposium (Sydney)
On 1 March, Invest Hong Kong of the HKSAR Government will showcase to Australian businesses at the “Hong Kong: Your Greater Bay Area Partner in Expanding Your Global Business” Symposium the important position and role of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (the Greater Bay Area) for the Mainland China’s economic development and opening up, and Hong Kong as an ideal partner to access the business opportunities in the Mainland China. During this half-day event to be held in Sydney, Australia, HKSAR Government officials will speak on the attractiveness and benefits of the Greater Bay Area. Panel speakers from prominent companies with presence in both Australia and the Greater Bay Area will share valuable experiences to highlight the advantages, opportunities and importance of collaboration between the two places.

Find out more here.
  Asia Trade Week 2021
From 22 to 25 February, a global audience and world-class speakers will take stock of what happened in 2020, virtually and in-person in the Asia Trade Week 2021. It will deliver a dynamic 4 days of networking, online panel discussions and masterclasses including 5 live-streamed events from Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. More than 850 policymakers, trade negotiators and business leaders will discuss major factors that will shape the future of trade in Asia and beyond.

Find out more here.
  FILMART Online 2021
FILMART Online, the digital version of HKTDC Hong Kong International Film and TV Market, will return on 15 to 18 March. It aims to unite even more international industry executives in its marketplace to connect and collaborate. Industry leaders and veterans will be invited to share their views about market outlooks, macro developments, technological advancements etc. in a series of online seminars and business events.

Find out more here.
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