NZ tech firms should jump at business opportunities in Hong Kong

Source: MakeLemonade.nz

Auckland – Hong Kong is providing New Zealand with a doorstep of opportunity for Kiwi tech firms, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

Muller has just returned from a business trip to Hong Kong, building connections with their tech sector and investors to support a growing interest in the Hong Kong / China market from New Zealand tech firms.

“The One Country – Two Systems structure has left Hong Kong with a separate legal system to China which is similar to our own common law system, with good intellectual property protection and a tough anti-corruption force, all adding up to Hong Kong providing a safe entry point into North Asia for Kiwi tech firms,” he says.

“The Hong Kong government has also committed the equivalent of $10 billion in investments into growing and supporting innovation and the tech sector and New Zealand businesses can access some of this funding to help set up and grow from Hong Kong.

“There is growing interest in what we provide as Hong Kong is aware that New Zealand is ranked as the third freest economy, just behind Hong Kong, according to the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, and is the least corrupt nation according to Transparency International.

“Hong Kong could provide massive opportunities for NZ tech businesses and there is a real interest in our innovations in AI, biotech, govtech, fintech and smart city solutions.”

Muller urged any Kiwi tech companies interested in doing business in Hong Kong or China to contact him at NZTech or to attend an upcoming seminar being put on by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office where he will share insights from his visit.

The Hong Kong – Connecting New Zealand to the Greater Bay Area event will touch on the opportunity for Kiwi firms of this 70 million-person market on Hong Kong’s doorstep.

NZTech represents more than 800 organisations across the tech ecosystem which employ more than 100,000 Kiwis. Technology is now New Zealand’s fastest growing and third largest export earner.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Bypass congestion easing

Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Central-Wan Chai Bypass congestion has been improving, Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung says.

Speaking to reporters today ahead of the Executive Council meeting, Mr Cheung said the Transport Department deployed manpower overnight to set up directional signboards and display more information on various digital screens at crucial vantage points for motorists.

“On the Central-Wan Chai Bypass congestion, I would use the words ‘teething problems’ on the first day.

“I’m sure that given time, and also with the completion in a month’s time of the access road, the link road between Rumsey Street and also the access road itself, the bypass itself, the situation will further improve,” he said.

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Biking buddies

Source: Taipei Economic and Cultural Office

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: First snow

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Rail relationship

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Thoughtful discussions

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Public housing resident convicted for making false statement knowingly

Source: Hong Kong Government special administrative region

Public housing resident convicted for making false statement knowingly
Public housing resident convicted for making false statement knowingly
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     A spokesman for the Housing Department (HD) today (January 22) reminded residents of public rental housing (PRH) estates to truthfully declare their income and assets.     A PRH resident living at Fu Shan Estate in Wong Tai Sin, who did not declare his ownership of a domestic property on an income and asset declaration form in 2018, was convicted at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts yesterday. The presiding magistrate ordered him to pay a fine of $5,000 and also sentenced him to one month’s imprisonment (suspended for 18 months).     In this case, the PRH resident declared on an income and asset declaration form in May 2018 that he did not own a domestic property in Hong Kong. Subsequent investigation revealed that he had concealed his joint ownership of a domestic property in Sai Ying Pun during the declaration period. The resident was prosecuted by the Housing Department for making a false statement knowingly, contrary to Section 26(1)(a)of the Housing Ordinance.     The spokesman said that households should complete the income and asset declaration forms accurately, as doing so provides the foundation for the assessment of rent and their eligibility for continuing residence. Before making the declarations, households should read the content and completion guidelines of the income and asset declaration form carefully and compute their income and assets in accordance with the methods specified therein. Otherwise, they may be prosecuted for making false statement knowingly, contrary to Section 26(1)(a) of the Housing Ordinance (if convicted, the maximum penalty is a $50,000 fine and imprisonment for six months) or being prosecuted for neglecting to furnish information as specified in a declaration form, contrary to Section 27(a) of the Housing Ordinance (if convicted, the maximum penalty is a $25,000 fine and imprisonment for three months).     In addition, the HD will take action to recover the undercharged rent incurred due to the inaccurate information. According to the revised Well-off Tenants Policies endorsed in December 2016, PRH households with domestic property ownership in Hong Kong will be required to vacate their PRH flats, irrespective of their levels of household income or assets.

 
Ends/Tuesday, January 22, 2019Issued at HKT 12:30

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Hong Kong, China – Georgia Free Trade Agreement to enter into force on February 13

Source: Hong Kong Government special administrative region

Hong Kong, China – Georgia Free Trade Agreement to enter into force on February 13
Hong Kong, China – Georgia Free Trade Agreement to enter into force on February 13
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     The Hong Kong, China – Georgia Free Trade Agreement will enter into force on February 13, giving Hong Kong exporters and service providers the legal certainty of favourable treatment and market access to Georgia.      “The Agreement, signed on June 28, 2018, is comprehensive in scope, encompassing trade in goods, trade in services, admission of investment, dispute settlement mechanisms, etc. It is the first free trade agreement which Hong Kong signed with a country in the Caucasus.      “With Georgia being a gateway to the Caucasus, this Agreement not only enhances trade and investment flows between Hong Kong and Georgia, but also paves the way for the business community to tap into opportunities in the Caucasus under the Belt and Road Initiative,” the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said today (January 22).      Mr Yau noted that the current-term Government has signed three free trade agreements (FTAs) with 12 economies (the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Georgia and the Macao Special Administrative Region). It has also concluded negotiations for FTAs with Australia and the Maldives.      “To help Hong Kong enterprises and investors expand their markets and further reinforce Hong Kong’s status as an international trade and investment hub, we will continue our efforts in expanding our worldwide network of economic and trade connections through actively seeking to negotiate and forge FTAs and Investment Agreements with economies that have strong economic and trade connections with us, markets with development potential or at strategic locations, and like-minded trading partners,” Mr Yau said.      On trade in goods, Georgia will eliminate import tariffs on more than 96 per cent of its tariff lines for Hong Kong’s originating products upon the entry into force of the Agreement.      As regards trade in services, which includes supplies of services through establishing commercial presence, commitments made by Georgia cover sectors in which Hong Kong has traditional strengths or has potential for further development, including financial services, telecommunications services, various business services, wholesale and retailing services, arbitration services, audio-visual services, construction and related engineering services, environmental services, various transport services and printing and publishing services.      On investment in non-services sectors, Georgia will accord Hong Kong investors with treatment and other safeguards that are no less favourable than those enjoyed by its local investors. This will enhance investors’ confidence and facilitate two-way investment flows between Hong Kong and Georgia.      The Agreement also contains provisions to ensure effective protection of intellectual property rights, promote competition, and enhance protection of the environment. The two sides have agreed to establish a transparent mechanism for consultations and settlement of possible disputes arising under the Agreement.      To help Hong Kong exporters make good use of the preferential tariff treatment under the Agreement, the Trade and Industry Department (TID) has issued trade circulars today to inform the trade of the relevant preferential rules of origin and the related requirements. The Agreement, including its full text, is available on the TID’s website (www.tid.gov.hk/english/ita/fta/hkgefta/index.html), and the circulars can be accessed at www.tid.gov.hk/english/aboutus/tradecircular/coc/2019/coc2019.html.

 
Ends/Tuesday, January 22, 2019Issued at HKT 12:28

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Hong Kong Customs steps up LNY law enforcement

Source: Hong Kong Government special administrative region

     With the imminent arrival of the Lunar New Year holiday period, the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (Janunary 22) announces that it has started a special operation to strengthen law enforcement actions at various boundary control points (BCPs) in a bid to combat smuggling and other illegal activities.     The C&ED reiterates that enforcement action will continue to target dangerous drugs. In some overseas jurisdictions, products containing cannabis or THC (a major cannabinoid present in cannabis plants), such as food products and drinks may be available for sale. The C&ED reiterates that it is a criminal offence under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance to bring such products into Hong Kong and people should pay attention to the packaging labels of the products concerned while making purchases in those jurisdictions.     Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, trafficking in dangerous drugs, or illicitly importing to and exporting from Hong Kong, procuring, supplying, manufacturing, or dealing in or with dangerous drugs, constitutes a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment and a fine of $5 million. Illicitly possessing, or smoking, inhaling, ingesting or injecting dangerous drugs is subject to a maximum penalty of a fine of $1 million and imprisonment for seven years.     People may bring in various types of commodities after travel and festive shopping outside Hong Kong. The C&ED reiterates that limits are set for alcoholic liquor and tobacco duty-free concessions. Incoming passengers are liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years upon conviction if they fail to comply with the respective provisions of the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance.     Members of the public are also reminded that it is an offence to bring into the city any game, meat, poultry and eggs without a health certificate under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.     Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting endangered species including orchids, ivory, American ginseng and dried seahorse without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for 10 years.     In addition, the import of mammals, birds and reptiles is controlled under the Public Health (Animals and Birds) Ordinance and Rabies Ordinance. Import of such animals are illegal unless a permit is obtained in advance from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.     Members of the public are also reminded not to bring manufactured fireworks into Hong Kong. Under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance, any person who conveys such items without a valid licence commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for six months.     Joint operations with related government departments will be carried out at BCPs and within Hong Kong waters to intercept activities of bringing in and out of prohibited and controlled items.      In addition, travellers are also reminded that the Cross-boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance has already been in force since July 16 last year. Under the Ordinance, a person who arrives in Hong Kong via a specified control point and is in possession of a large quantity of currency and bearer negotiable instruments (CBNIs) (i.e. the total value of which is more than HK$120,000) must use the Red Channel under the Red and Green Channel System and make a written declaration to a Customs officer.     A person who is about to leave Hong Kong, or who arrives in Hong Kong other than at a specified control point, must disclose upon the request of a Customs officer whether he or she is in possession of a large quantity of CBNIs and, if so, make a written declaration.     During the Lunar New Year special operation conducted between February 1 and 19 last year, the C&ED detected a total of 655 cases with the arrest of 582 persons, resulting in the seizure of items with an estimated value of about $53 million.     The C&ED reiterates that deployment will be strengthened for vigorous enforcement actions before and during the festive holiday.     Members of the public may report any suspected drug and smuggling activities to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

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