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MAR 15 - 21, 2022
Hong Kong to lift flight ban and cut quarantine period
With effect from Apr 1, Hong Kong will lift the flight ban on nine countries including the US and cut the hotel quarantine period from 14 days to seven days for arrivals. Only Hong Kong residents who are fully vaccinated can board the flight for Hong Kong. They must hold a negative result of a PCR-based nucleic acid test taken within 48 hours before boarding and a confirmation of a room reservation at a designated quarantine hotel for at least seven nights. They are also required to comply with repeated testing upon arrival. If the travelers have tested positive after arriving in Hong Kong, they will be issued with an isolation order and transferred to a community isolation hotel. Separately, Hong Kong will relax most of its social distancing measures from Apr 21 in three phases if the local COVID-19 situation shows no signs of a rebound and the downward trend of positive cases continues.
More measures to support businesses
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will launch a new round of the Employment Support Scheme to provide time-limited financial support to employers in eligible business sectors to retain their employees. Applications for the program are expected to open in April. Separately, the Government published (Mar 18) in the Gazette the Temporary Protection Measures for Business Tenants (COVID-19 Pandemic) Bill to provide business tenants of specified sectors with temporary protection measures in the form of a rental enforcement moratorium. This will help prevent large-scale business failures and thereby save jobs and preserve the vitality of the economy. The proposed legislation also aims to give landlords and tenants room and an opportunity to work out mutually agreeable rental arrangement in the interim. The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on Mar 23.
New measures for virtual asset industry
Hong Kong's Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui issued a letter to the virtual asset (VA) industry via his blog (Mar 17) to introduce the HKSAR Government's plan on the VA area. Embracing regulation, development, tradition and innovation, the measures aim to build up market confidence and provide a pathway to the sustainable development of the VA industry. The plans include setting up a licensing system for VA service providers, contemplating the regulation of payment-related “stablecoins” and providing traditional financial institutions with guidelines on offering VA-related services. The details of the legislative proposal will be based on views gathered in an earlier public consultation.
World premiere of TV drama “I Swim” in Chicago
Chicago audience will have the first peek of the new production - an original television drama “I Swim” - by versatile director and scriptwriter Fung Chih-Chiang on Apr 3 in Chicago. The first two episodes of this drama series, starring members of Hong Kong’s most popular Canto-pop boy band Mirror, will be screened in Chicago prior to its release in Hong Kong. Fung has won acclaims as a director of Concerto of The Bully (2017) and A Witness Out of the Blue (2019). This world premiere joins five other exciting Hong Kong films to be featured at the Asian Pop-up Cinema Season 14. Reserve your tickets now!
Registration opens for Hong Kong ISPA Congress
Early bird registration is now open for the upcoming Hong Kong 2022 ISPA Congress to be conducted from May 24 to 27 in virtual mode. In line with this year’s theme “To Connect Beyond”, the congress will provide a discussion platform for the global performing arts industry to conduct in-depth exchanges, share experiences, stimulate creativity and explore new ideas and opportunities in the post-pandemic era. 
Hong Kong’s pathway to carbon neutrality
What are the core strategies Hong Kong is adopting to combat climate change? Hong Kong’s Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing will give an overview of the city’s plans and approach at a webinar co-organized by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Washington, DC and the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum (CEF) on Apr 6 at 9 AM (EST). Joining Mr Wong and CEF’s director Dr Jennifer Turner are Hong Kong Monetary Authority executive director Darryl Chan, who will talk about how the international financial center expands its green finance ecosystem, and Professor Becky Loo of University of Hong Kong, who will highlight the opportunities and obstacles for electric vehicles and other green transport approaches in Hong Kong. Click here to register.
  • The Hong Kong Monetary Authority raised the base rate to 0.75% from 0.5% with immediate effect according to a pre-set formula, following similar move by the US Federal Reserve.

  • The volume of Hong Kong's total exports of goods in Jan increased by 7.8%, while the volume of imports of goods decreased by 0.2% year-on-year. The prices of total exports of goods and imports of goods increased by 10.5% and 9.7% respectively, during the same comparison periods.

  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed to 4.5% for the Dec 2021 – Feb 2022 period, rising notably by 0.6 percentage points compared with the previous three-month period. The underemployment rate increased to 2.3%. The labor market deteriorated sharply due to the fifth wave of the COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
  • Overall consumer prices rose 1.6% in Feb year-on-year, less than the 1.2% growth in Jan. Taking the first two months of 2022 together to neutralize the Lunar New Year effect, overall consumer prices rose by 1.4% over a year earlier. Netting out the effect of the Government’s one-off relief measures, the corresponding increase was 1.5%.

  • For 2021 as a whole, Hong Kong recorded a Balance of Payments deficit of US$1.16 billion (0.3% of GDP), as against a surplus of US$33.71 billion (9.8% of GDP) in 2020.  
Hong Kong and its Basic Law
The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the HKSAR. Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems”.
Q: Has there been any interference in the independence of the Judiciary?
A: No. Hong Kong's robust and respected court system exercises judicial power independently, free from any interference. The power of final adjudication is vested in the Court of Final Appeal of the HKSAR, which may as required invite judges from other common law jurisdictions to sit on the Court of Final Appeal. The principle of trial by jury previously practiced in Hong Kong is maintained. (BL Articles 2; 19; 81; 82; 85; 86)

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