British Chamber 2020 Policy Address Submission

On Friday 7 August, the Chamber issued its annual Policy Address Submission. The 2020/21 Policy Address submission outlines the Chamber’s key priority policy recommendations for the Chief Executive and her administration.

Our submission adopts the themes of "Recovery, Rebuilding and Repositioning" as Hong Kong moves forward.

  • In terms of "Recovery", this is about learning the lessons from COVID-19; finding an appropriate methodology to keep businesses going until we can open up the economy again and reduce current travel/quarantine restrictions; and regaining community trust in the way forward for our city.
  • In terms of "Rebuilding", we have focused on the need for a major programme of infrastructure investment; rebuilding the SME economic base in Hong Kong; continuing to grow our financial markets; refreshing and enhancing the healthcare system; as well as strengthening the logistics sector.
  • In terms of "Repositioning", we see the need to rebuild and refresh Hong Kong's international competitiveness and international reputation; and also for a longer term focus on digitalisation, a more liveable city and education. We also see the need to take steps to reduce social and gender inequality.

We have sought to make specific recommendations where appropriate.

Click here to view the document.

 

The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong Annual General Meeting 2020

The Chamber will hold its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 2 September 2020 at 5:30pm. The venue is currently the Harcourt Suite of the Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central, Hong Kong. In observance of social distancing, we might need to conduct the meeting online. We will closely monitor the Government’s guidance and keep you all posted on the details of the meeting.

To see the full notice, please click here.

Profiles of the candidates nominated for the General Committee of 2020–2021 can be viewed here.

Please come and support the Chamber for this important corporate governance event. To register, please email christy@britcham.com as soon as possible.

 

British Chamber - GBA Position Paper

The Greater Bay Area initiative (“GBA”) has generated a great deal of interest amongst the British Chamber of Commerce members. We have been hosting a series of events and round-tables exploring the opportunities and the barriers for successful implementation that some of you will have attended. In addition, we formed the Greater Bay Area British Business Network last year in partnership with the British Chambers in southern China and Macao, the Confederation of British Industry and the Mainland China Britain Business Council. The focus of the network is to exchange information and coordinate our work on GBA, which is one of our top priorities for the next 12-24 months.

Following the request last year by the Chief Executive for the business community to actively provide input, the Chamber has recently submitted our first position paper to the Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs which sets out the thinking of BritCham Hong Kong. It consists of both broad cross-cutting themes and detailed recommendations. This position paper is an initial paper and focuses on recommendations for five key sectors: financial services, logistics, healthcare, education as well as energy and environment. Covid-19 is forcing us all to reappraise the importance of IT and digital technologies in every aspect of life and for this reason we envisage sharing our thinking on this and other sectors with the government later this year.

We will continue to provide further updates on our dialogue with government in due course.

Click here to read the full paper (member only)

 

Infra Action Plan

The Chamber Chairman, Peter Burnett, wrote to the Chief Executive, proposing an Infra Action Plan to support the construction sector in relation to employment and the Hong Kong economy. The construction industry is of vital importance to the Hong Kong economy, in its contribution to GDP (15%) and employment (8% of the workforce).

Drawing on the considerable expertise and experience in the Chamber’s Construction Industry Group and International Infrastructure Forum – the Chamber has developed a strategy that aims to address these challenges, both in the short and medium term, in a systematic and strategic manner. The strategy proposes an innovative collaboration bringing together Government and private sector to produce an "Infra Action Plan" to procure and deliver major infrastructure projects quickly and efficiently.

Click here to read the full letter.

 

HM The Queen praises Chambers’ contribution to business communities during Coronavirus as more firms reopen

Her Majesty The Queen has offered support to businesses as they reopen, and praised the contribution Chambers of Commerce across the UK and around the world are making to help firms, champion trade and rebuild communities, in a letter released today.

The letter from Her Majesty, Patron of the British Chambers of Commerce, comes as businesses across the UK are reopening and adjusting to a new normal.

The full letter can be found here.

 

The British Chamber of Commerce in China Position Paper

11/06/2020: British Chambers of Commerce in China 

The British Chamber Position Paper created by the British Chambers of Commerce in China to provide advocacy and representation on behalf of British businesses operating in China is now live. In these unprecedented times, there is more need than ever for British businesses to be able to speak with a strong, unified voice. British businesses across a range of sectors in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Southwest China come together to raise the regulatory barriers that they face, areas of opportunity for bilateral cooperation and recommendations for market access reform.

The Paper has been presented to the UK and China governments in order to directly inform trade policy and negotiations.

Key points from the paper are:

  • Strengthen the implementation of market reforms at all levels
  • Address longstanding and continuing concerns around cybersecurity and IT restrictions
  • Promote greater liberalisation of the capital account
  • Reduce the direct presence of state-owned enterprises in the market
  • Keep conversations on bilateral trade frequent and open

Download the full paper here.

 

Chamber Chairman Updates - National Security Legislation (Message to Chamber Members)

"You will have seen the announcements and press coverage concerning the proposal made last week at the Third Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress in Beijing to introduce legislation “to safeguard national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”. The NPC has endorsed the decision at a vote taken on 28th May. Hereafter the Standing Committee of the NPC will be authorised to draft the detailed and specific legislation.

Click here to read the full message (member only)

 

The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong - Appointment of Executive Director 

17/04/2020

The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (BritCham) is delighted to announce the appointment of David Graham as its Executive Director, effective 1st June, 2020. David succeeds Andrew Seaton who, for family and personal reasons, is retiring from the Chamber and returning to the United Kingdom. Peter Burnett, Chairman of BritCham, said: “I am personally delighted and the Chamber is very fortunate that David has agreed to become our next Executive Director. He has an exceptional knowledge of the Hong Kong business community and a career history of working in senior positions in Hong Kong which will serve the Chamber and our members very well at this important and challenging moment and for the future. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Seaton for his enormous contribution to the work and leadership of the Chamber over the last five years.”

Click here to read the full Press Release.

 

Covid-19 Economic Relief Package

09/04/2020

The Government yesterday launched an additional economic relief package. This consists of: a general employment subsidy scheme; a job creation programme; and sector specific measures including support for the construction and aviation industry and for sectors which have been hardest hit and forced to close in order to control the outbreak.

Peter Burnett, Chamber Chairman, has commented: “We welcome this package, which should provide much needed support to hard-pressed Hong Kong businesses. I am particularly pleased to see the support to businesses to maintain employment, which we have seen as a priority.” 

The Chamber alongside other leading international Chambers wrote to the Financial Secretary earlier this month urging the Administration to implement further support to allow businesses to maintain employment.  

Details from the Administration of the support measures are here.

 

Joint Chamber Letter to Financial Secretary: Support to Business to Maintain Employment

01/04/2020

The Chamber Chairman, Peter Burnett, along with the leaders of the American, Australian, French and German Chambers, have written to the Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, encouraging the HK Government to consider, as an urgent priority, some form of financial support to business to maintain employment. 

With the  Covid-19 outbreak having become global, this has significantly added to the immediate pressure on businesses. The Chambers believe that support of this sort would help Hong Kong businesses face these pressures, and most importantly help keep Hong Kong citizens in employment  

Click here to read the full letter. 

 

Chamber letter to Government on Additional Covid-19 Support for Business

01/04/2020

The Chamber’s Board met with Edward Yau – Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, to discuss the relief measures for businesses dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.  

Following this productive dialogue, the Chamber has written to the Secretary reiterating two critical issues which must be addressed. The first being to provide further immediate relief measures which will support businesses to maintain employment. The second issue is ensuring the Administration has ‘button ready’ exit strategies for once the virus is waning – to ensure Hong Kong emerges from this crisis with a refreshed business proposition.  

You can read the letter to the Administration online here.

 

Chamber Chairman’s Letter: Hong Kong / UK Free Trade Agreement

20/03/2020

The Chamber Chairman, Peter Burnett, has written to the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, on behalf of the Chamber, encouraging the UK Government to consider a Free Trade Agreement with Hong Kong as a priority as it moves ahead with its new post-Brexit trade relationships. The letter sets out the Chamber’s case for this including the opportunities for a wide range of business sectors.

Click here to see the full letter. 

 

Letter to Chief Executive for Central Harbourfront Site 3

02/03/2020

The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong warmly welcomes the announcement by the Secretary for Development at the launch of the 2020-21 Land Sale Programme that the tender for the New Central Harbourfront Site 3 will be managed on a “Two Envelope Approach”. Combining both design and price criteria in the tender evaluation will, in our view, result in an optimal outcome for this iconic waterfront site.

In our letter to the administration dated 2nd February 2018, we were strongly supportive of incorporating design criteria in the tender award process. These would include an imaginative, people-focused approach and improving accessibility to the waterfront for the enjoyment of all Hong Kong residents.

Click here to read the full letter to the Chief Executive from Peter Burnett, Chairman of the British Chamber.

 

2020 British Chamber Budget Address Policy Matching and Highlights

27/02/2020

Yesterday the Financial Secretary presented the Budget Address. Every year the Chamber draws up a paper, ahead of the Chief Executive’s Policy Address, putting forward key policy recommendations for the Chief Executive, Financial Secretary and the administration. This submission draws on the huge range of practical expertise and. knowledge across the Chamber membership, in particular in the Chamber’s specialist Committees. We back this up with regular closed door meetings with senior members of the administration; and with standalone policy or position papers.

This matching document identifies policy proposals from the British Chamber with relevant announcements in the Financial Secretary’s Budget Address. It also highlights other announcements from the Budget Address which may be of relevance and interest to Chamber Members.

Click here to view the policy matching document.

 

Letter from Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.

04/02/2020

An update on the Government’s strategy and efforts to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection in Hong Kong.
Click here to read the letter.