Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce Calls for Relaxation of Travel Curbs

(Photo credit: China Discovery)

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce has urged the government to remove all travel curbs and measures against local Covid infections to revive the economy and stressed that quarantine-free travel with the mainland was key.

The chamber has stressed that Hong Kong SAR has good fundamentals but its competitiveness in various aspects have been declining.

The statement came on a day when exports were found to have dropped for four consecutive months.

For the record, exports fell for four months in a row by 14.3 percent year on year to HK$371.9 billion in August, missing expectations.

Chairwoman Betty Yuen So Siu-mai welcomed, of course, last week’s further relaxation of visitor entry restrictions, saying it will help to attract global talents and encourage local companies to make the trips needed to drive their businesses forward.

While Hong Kong has been less attractive in various aspects, she believed it could regain competitiveness against other regions, including Singapore where many local talents and businesses have relocated, if the international financial hub could connect itself with the mainland and the rest of the world as soon as possible.

The chamber has over 4,000 members like power giant CLP Power and fast-food chain Cafe de Coral to date. Its statement came to emphasize that the complete removal of border controls is the key to keeping businesses in the city.

According to a poll it conducted, 73 percent of companies said they might change their mind and stay in Hong Kong if the government relaxes travel restrictions and anti-Covid measures further, while 8 percent have decided to leave.

Under present pandemic curbs, around 40 percent of respondents have shrunk their business or have plans to do so.

Chief executive of the Chamber, George Leung Siu-kay suggested opening the city totally to the world before the end of the year, which might bring a surge in arrivals.

On top of that he also called for relaxation of social distancing rules and prolonging of operating hours of merchants to spur consumption and economic growth in the city-state.

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