Chairman's Desk
Passing the Baton

After the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting this month, I will pass on the baton as Chairman of this outstanding organization. It has been an honour and privilege to serve the business community of Hong Kong through what has been an extraordinary period for the city.

The past year has been particularly difficult, with the Covid-19 outbreak following on from months of protests and simmering U.S.-Sino trade tensions. While Hong Kong is lucky to have had relatively few coronavirus cases, many businesses have nonetheless suffered from enormous difficulties. 

We had an urgent meeting last month with the Chief Executive to present various fiscal measures to help businesses and avoid mass layoffs. The earlier relief measures didn't address unemployment head-on, so we were grateful that she listened to our suggestions and understood that the business community cannot do it alone. 

These are exceptional times and the CE's unprecedented relief package focused on easing the liquidity shortage that businesses are facing and avoiding job losses. I believe this reflects the crucial role that the Chamber plays in supporting businesses. We truly are the Voice of Business. 

I also saw this on the Chamber’s missions that I participated in to GBA cities, where we shared our views with Mainland officials. The pace of development in the GBA has been incredibly fast, which highlights the tremendous opportunities that the area offers for Hong Kong businesses. 

Whether meeting with Hong Kong officials or incoming dignitaries from around the world, I have always been impressed by the importance people place on the Chamber’s views. This is partly due to the excellent work that the Chamber committees do in dissecting complicated issues to develop well-thrashed out proposals that always have the interests of Hong Kong at heart.  

As I step down, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your support. In particular, I would like to thank my Deputy Chairman Peter Wong, Vice Chairmen Oscar Chow, Victor Li and Leland Sun, our LegCo Representative Jeffrey Lam, General Committee members, committee chairmen, and the Chamber Secretariat including former CEO Shirley Yuen. 

Although the next Chairman – to be elected at our AGM on 15 May – will face serious challenges in the short term, I have every confidence that he or she will steer the business community towards a brighter future. These are difficult times, but as Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old war veteran who completed 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the U.K.’s National Health Service workers said: “To all those people who are finding it difficult at the moment, the sun will shine on you again, and the clouds will go away.” 

I look forward to seeing you all again face-to-face after I have stepped down and the clouds have indeed gone away. 

 

Aron Harilela
chairman@chamber.org.hk

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