AmCham’s Quick Take on 2018-2019 Budget

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AmCham welcomes Hong Kong Budget’s investment into the city’s future

  • Use of record surplus to invest in long-term growth, prosperity is appropriate
  • We back focus on innovation, technology and upgrading pillar industries
  • Fiscal and regulatory support for financial services is welcome
  • Lack of original and radical thinking over nurturing young talent is a concern
  • Not enough to revive public interest in conversion to electric vehicles

Key Quotes by President Tara Joseph

  • “We’re delighted that the government responded to the requests from the international business community to take more of a coordinated approach to promoting and marketing Hong Kong overseas.”
  • “We also appreciate the continued efforts to expand regional and bilateral trade agreements.”
  • “Talent is the top concern for tech and innovation companies looking to invest or expand in Hong Kong. However, the government's mindset remains tertiary- and elite-oriented, instead of geared toward the much-needed radical reform of education to nurture young talent.”

FULL RELEASE:

Hong Kong - February 28, 2018 - AmCham supports steps by the Hong Kong government to invest in a long-term vision to maintain the city’s competitive position by strengthening its core industries as well as spurring innovation and the growth of emerging sectors. However, the Chamber is disappointed at the lack of new thinking on talent development for Hong Kong to embrace the innovation economy.

AmCham welcomes the HK$50 billion of new funds to promote innovation and technology, as well as the HK$500 million to secure the city's competitive edge in financial services, and offering incentives to promote green bonds and green certification.

The Chamber is also pleased by Budget proposals to enhance collaboration between Hong Kong’s network of External Trade Offices, Information Services Department, InvestHK and Trade Development Council.

“We’re delighted that the government responded to the requests from the international business community to take more of a coordinated approach to promoting and marketing Hong Kong overseas,” said Chamber President Tara Joseph. “We also appreciate the continued efforts to expand regional and bilateral trade agreements.”

Although Financial Secretary Paul Chan projects an increase in supply of residential apartments in the next five years, costs of living remain very high in Hong Kong, affecting the city’s attractiveness for international businesses and talent. AmCham believes that the government needs to take a more proactive stance to mitigate high property prices and rentals, such as that adopted by Singapore.

AmCham will launch a membership survey shortly to gauge opinions about Hong Kong’s competitiveness and business environment.

The measures such as the Postdoctoral Hub program and funds to facilitate collaboration in R&D with overseas institutions are appreciated.

AmCham will organize Hong Kong's first Smart City Summit in June, and seeks more government facilitation of bottom-up, business-to-school collaboration to expose teachers and students to the latest industry trends and thinking about the future of work, so the entire community can be well prepared for the economic transformation and smart city development.

"Talent is the top concern for tech and innovation companies looking to invest or expand in Hong Kong,” Joseph said . “However, the government's mindset remains tertiary- and elite-oriented, instead of geared toward the much-needed radical reform of education to nurture young talent.”

AmCham celebrates the government's reversion of the former administration's policy to encourage the scrapping of private internal-combustion engine cars for electric vehicles in line with world trends. However, the Chamber feels this will be insufficient to spark a revival in public interest in EVs that was effectively snuffed out by last year's radical winding back of the rebate policy.

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AmCham Public Affairs and Publications

For enquiries:

Dannio Chan
Tel: (852) 2530 6917
E-mail: dchan@amcham.org.hk

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With about 1,500 members, the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham) is one of the largest American Chambers outside the United States, the largest international chamber in Hong Kong, and one of the most dynamic and influential international business organizations in the Asia-Pacific region. AmCham’s mission is to foster commerce among the United States, Hong Kong, and Mainland China; and to enhance Hong Kong's stature as an international business center.