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2019/01/24

Preparing for Challenges Ahead
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-Po    

For Immediate Release

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC)  has urged Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-Po to use his upcoming Budget to help Hong Kong prepare for economic challenges ahead amid growing uncertainties and protectionism around the world.

“It is imperative that we are well prepared for the challenges that are threatening to cut the proverbial legs from under a global economy that has not quite recovered from the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago,” said HKGCC Chairman Aron Harilela.

In its submission to the Government on 24 January, HKGCC argued that with over a trillion-dollar stockpile in its war chest, the Government can easily afford to sow some of the reserves back into the economy.

“In recent years, these reserves have been a major talking point every year at Budget time. With so much uncertainty around, the Government has the opportunity to act now to shore up Hong Kong against the looming storm,” said HKGCC CEO Shirley Yuen.

As part of this, HKGCC has been urging the Government to tackle the problem of out-of-date regulations -- which are creating unnecessary hurdles and costs -- by incorporating a proper regulatory impact assessment (RIA) scheme.

“An RIA could build on programmes already in place. Therefore, it would not be difficult or costly to implement, added Harilela. “More importantly, it would create many positive knock-on effects that extend beyond the business sector to also encompass social and livelihood matters.” 

Greater Bay Area (GBA)

HKGCC believes further development of the GBA initiative will enhance Hong Kong’s comparative advantages in the areas of international finance, trade, and transport. But for GBA to truly work, cross-boundary exchanges need to be seamless, which includes incentivizing the flow of people.

In its submission, HKGCC suggested replicating across the GBA the programme implemented in the Qianhai and Hengqin Economic Zones, where Hong Kong residents are able to enjoy a preferential/lower IIT bracket that corresponds to a stay of less than 183 days, even when the taxpayer’s time in China exceeds that duration.

“This arrangement could be rolled-out progressively across the GBA, subject to agreement of tax authorities. We believe this would help attract more international talent to the GBA, as well as promote talent flows within the area, to help drive the initiative forward.”

Other key proposals in the submission include:

  • Strengthen the Tax Policy Unit
  • Incentivize the establishment of regional headquarters
  • Encourage the growth of Innovation and Technology through fiscal measures
  • Promote Hong Kong as a base for Global Trading
  • Review the Spirits Tax

The full submission can be read on HKGCC’s website.

 

 

 

 


Media inquiries: Please contact Mr Anthony Cheng at 2823 1250 / anthony@chamber.org.hk

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