Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Washington DC
Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Update for Travellers and Others

Get travel advice and stay on top of the latest developments in Hong Kong affecting the airport, public transport, public safety and other issues. Details here.

Hong Kong Update for Travellers and Others
   
2018 external direct investment statistics released

December 12, 2019 - At the end of 2018, Hong Kong's total inward direct investment rose 1% year-on-year to US$2,194.9 billion. Its ratio to the GDP stood at 602% in 2018. The total stock of Hong Kong's outward DI increased by 0.9% year-on-year to US$2,060.4 billion. Its ratio to GDP was 565% in 2018. A Hong Kong SAR Government spokesman said that the stocks of overall inward and outward DI continued to rise in 2018, notwithstanding the increasingly uncertain global economic and financial environment in the latter part of the year. To further Hong Kong's development as an international financial and business center, the Government will strive to enhance our established competitive advantages, explore new areas of strength, and capitalize on the vast opportunities arising from the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the national Belt and Road Initiative. Details here.

2018 external direct investment statistics released
   
Funding support for arts and culture

December 12, 2019 - The Government has progressively increased funding to support local artists to actively participate in international art scene and for international artists and art groups to present their productions in Hong Kong, said Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah at the Asia Cultural Cooperation Forum (Dec 12). In addition to developments at the West Kowloon Cultural District, Mr Lau highlighted the recent reopening of the newly expanded Hong Kong Museum of Art and the East Kowloon Cultural Centre in 2021 as Hong Kong strives to provide world-class venues to gather the best artists and ideas from across the globe. Details here.

Funding support for arts and culture
   
Hong Kong students win medals

December 12, 2019 - A team of six Hong Kong students have won two gold and four silver medals at the International Junior Science Olympiad held in Doha. Congratulating the team on their excellent performance, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said (Dec 12) the outstanding results demonstrated the students' potential in science and technology and encouraged them to contribute to science and innovation development in the city. About 320 students aged 15 or below from 70 countries and regions took part in the olympiad (Dec 4-11), which tested their analytical and problem-solving skills in physics, chemistry and biology. Details here.

Hong Kong students win medals
   
Government assures respect for DCs

December 10, 2019 - The Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to respecting the roles and functions of the district councils, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Dec 10). "There is no question of the Government's commitment to continue to respect the roles and functions of the District Council and to continue to make available the funds for the district councils to approve and disperse according to their remit of these resources," said Mrs Lam, who asserted that there is no need to worry that the Government will not accord the same treatment and respect to the new district councils after January 1 next year. Details here.

Government assures respect for DCs
   
IP regime further enhanced

December 5, 2019 - Hong Kong continues to enhance its intellectual property regime and is determined to ensure that it remains a leader in attracting global business, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Business of IP Asia Forum (Dec 5). In February, a bill was introduced into legislature to allow Hong Kong to implement the international registration system under the Madrid Protocol. An IP specialist list was set up by the Judiciary in May, making it easier to assign specialist judges for IP cases. An original grant patent system will be launched at the end of the year to offer an alternative route for patent applicants seeking applications directly in Hong Kong, without having to make prior filing with a patent office outside Hong Kong. Details here.

IP regime further enhanced
   
New measures to support businesses

December 4, 2019 - The Hong Kong SAR Government announced (Dec 4) a new package of measures to support enterprises and employment during the economic downturn involving more than US$512 million (HK$4 billion). Financial Secretary Paul Chan said this round is mostly targeted towards supporting businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “Our concept is that by supporting businesses it will help safeguard employment. During an economic downturn, supporting employment is the number one priority of the Government," he said, adding that the Government aimed to ease the financial burden of citizens and businesses as soon as possible. Details here.

New measures to support businesses
   
Business as usual in Hong Kong

December 4, 2019 - Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau told CNBC (Dec 4) that the Government had been rolling out support measures for businesses, even before the social unrest started, to help enterprises cope with the fallout of the US-China trade war. Mr Yau pointed out that as an international trading and financial hub, business in the city largely remained normal, with finance-related businesses going on “as usual”. He added that Hong Kong could still be the top IPO listing center this year. In response to questions about the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, Mr Yau said the Hong Kong SAR Government did not want trade and economic policies to be swayed by politics, adding that any trading relationship must be built on mutual interest. Details here.

Business as usual in Hong Kong
   
Hong Kong financial system lauded

December 4, 2019 - Financial Secretary Paul Chan welcomed (Dec 4) an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report which commended Hong Kong's financial system and the Government’s various policies to support the economy and safeguard financial stability.The IMF Mission's concluding statement said that despite a slowing economy, the city's long-standing prudent macroeconomic policies have left it with significant buffers to navigate through cyclical and structural challenges. The IMF reaffirmed its support for the Linked Exchange Rate System, noting that it has continued to function well amid increased global financial market volatility and remains an appropriate arrangement that anchors the stability of Hong Kong’s highly open economy and globally integrated monetary and financial system. It also welcomed the Government's recent fiscal stimuli to support the economy, which include support for small and medium-sized enterprises, further tax relief, extra social security payments and subsidies for households, adding that expansionary fiscal policy is needed to support the slowing economy in the near term. Details here.

Hong Kong financial system lauded
   
Hong Kong students excel in global test

December 3, 2019 - Hong Kong students performed well in the Programme for International Student Assessment 2018 (Dec 3). The assessment, conducted every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development, assesses the mother tongue reading, mathematical and scientific literacy of 15-year-old students. Among the 79 countries or economies participating in the study, Hong Kong students ranked fourth in both mother tongue reading and mathematical literacy, and ninth in scientific literacy. The students’ performance in the three areas was significantly higher than the international level, which is attributable to the efforts of schools, teachers and stakeholders in providing quality education. Details here.

Hong Kong students excel in global test
   
October retail sales drop 24.3%

December 2, 2019 - The value of total retail sales in October, provisionally estimated (Dec 2) at US$3.8 billion (HK$30.1 billion), fell 24.3% year-on-year. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales decreased 26.2% year-on-year. Retail sales continued to plunge in October and showed the largest year-on-year decline for a single month on record, as the local social incidents with increasing violence depressed consumption sentiment and severely disrupted tourism and consumption-related activities. Details here.

October retail sales drop 24.3%
   
Deficit recorded

December 2, 2019 - The Government recorded a US$15.3 billion (HK$119.4 billion) deficit for the first seven months of the current financial year (Nov 29). Expenditure was at US$41.9 (HK$327 billion) and revenue at US$25.8 (HK$201.3 billion), resulting in the cumulative year-to-date deficit after receipt of net proceeds of US$1 billion (HK$7.8 billion) from issuance of green bonds under the Government Green Bond Programme and repayment of institutional notes of US$192 million (HK$1.5 billion). Details here.

Deficit recorded
   
Government opposes US law enactment

November 28, 2019 - The Hong Kong SAR Government expressed (Nov 28) strong opposition to the Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act and another act on Hong Kong becoming United States law. In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government said it deeply regretted that the US has disregarded the genuine concerns it repeatedly raised about the acts, asserting that the two acts are unnecessary and unwarranted, and would harm relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the US. The US has enormous economic interests in Hong Kong, including earning from Hong Kong the largest bilateral trade surplus amongst its global trading partners for the past decade, with last year’s surplus standing at over US$33 billion. Any unilateral change of US economic and trade policy towards Hong Kong would create a negative impact on shared relations as well as the US' own interests. Hong Kong and the US have all along had close co-operation on export control and law enforcement. The SAR Government expressed hope that the US would adopt a pragmatic attitude. Details here.

Government opposes US law enactment
   
Sovereign bond plan welcomed

November 27, 2019 - The Government welcomed the Ministry of Finance's issuance of US dollar sovereign bonds totalling US$6 billion in Hong Kong (Nov 27). US$1.5 billion of the bonds will be issued with a three-year tenor, US$2 billion with a five-year tenor, US$2 billion with a 10-year tenor and the remaining US$0.5 billion with a 20-year tenor. Noting that this is the third issuance of US dollar sovereign bonds in the city, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said this demonstrates clearly the Central Government's support in reinforcing Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, and is conducive to the development of the bond market in Hong Kong. Details here.

Sovereign bond plan welcomed
   
Government to engage the public: CE

November 26, 2019 - Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the Government’s next step in going forward is to engage the people. Speaking at a media stand-up ahead of the Executive Council Meeting (Nov 26), Mrs Lam said the District Council Ordinary Election showed that many voters wanted to express their views. “The next step to go forward is really to engage the people and we have started public dialogue with the community," she said. “I hope that the environment will allow me to do it now, and of course like in the other places’ experience, particularly in the UK after the 2011 Tottenham riots, we are now modelling on that arrangement to set up an independent review committee to look at the causes of the social unrest.” Mrs Lam added that this model could help identify the underlying social, economic or political problems and recommend measures that the Government should take. The Government will also reflect on voters' views and strive to improve its future governance. Details here

Government to engage the public: CE
   
October exports down 9.2%

November 26, 2019 - The value of Hong Kong's total exports decreased to US$44.6 billion (HK$348.5 billion) in October, down 9.2% year-on-year. The value of imports fell 11.5% to US$48.6 billion (HK$379.1 billion) for the same period. A trade deficit of US$3.9 billion (HK$30.6 billion), or 8.1% of the value of imports, was recorded for the month. The year-on-year decline in the value of merchandise exports accelerated further in October, buffeted by sluggish global demand and continued US-Mainland trade tensions. Exports to many major markets registered visible declines. Looking ahead, Hong Kong's merchandise export performance will likely remain weak in the near term, as soft global economic growth and uncertainties stemming from US trade policies continue to dampen external demand. Details here.

October exports down 9.2%
   
Hong Kong Museum of Art to reopen on Nov 30

November 26, 2019 - Following a major expansion and renovation, the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA) will reopen on Nov 30, presenting a total of 11 exhibitions. They include a series of collection exhibitions representing the cultural legacy in the museum's holdings. The HKMoA has been closed since August 2015 for a renovation project to increase exhibition space and upgrade its facilities. After expansion, the total exhibition area has been increased by about 40% from about 7,000 square meters to around 10,000 square meters. Details here.

Hong Kong Museum of Art to reopen on Nov 30
   

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