Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) (HKETO), Ms Emily Mo, joined the "Canada-Asia Business Update: Preparing Canadian Companies For The New Normal" webinar hosted by Gowling WLG as a panellist on May 7.
Speaking at the webinar, Ms Mo first updated participants on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong. She remarked that unlike many other cities, Hong Kong has not adopted a complete lockdown, but the comprehensive and coordinated control measures implemented by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has successfully contained the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining the city’s position as an international city and aviation hub.
Ms Mo also explained the control measures introduced by the Government of the HKSAR. “These include early screening measures at ports; a robust health care system with sufficient isolation wards and test kits; extended school closures and a society-wide adoption of face masks and personal hygiene practices”, she said.
These measures, which are based on the key principles of responding promptly, staying alert to the situation and working in an open and transparent manner, have led to the successful containment of COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
On the business front, the Government of the HKSAR has launched a package of measures which costs over CAD $48 billion (HK$287.5 billion) to preserve the vitality of the economy.
“Measures included wage subsidies to employer and self-employed persons; labour skills upgrading grants; subsidies for enterprises to apply technology; one-off grants and low-interest loans. Canadian companies registered in Hong Kong can receive the same level of support as their local counterparts,” Ms Mo continued.
Though COVID-19 has posed tremendous pressure on the global economy, Hong Kong’s fundamental strengths remain intact and commercial companies continue to show confidence in Hong Kong. Ms Mo noted that some international insurance companies decided to base its operation in Hong Kong and established the first Asian office in Hong Kong in recent months.
Besides, Hong Kong’s resilience and innovation have been helping the city to withstand and overcome the COVID-19 challenges. Examples include geo-fencing technology used in the app to detect whether people are complying with quarantine orders, full-body disinfection channels installed at Hong Kong International Airport and robots for disinfection of trains in the MTR system.
Before closing, Ms Mo encouraged Canadian companies to get prepared to expand their businesses to Asia through Hong Kong, and to contact HKETO which offers free consultancy service and tailor-made advice to companies that are interested to set foot in the city.
Other panellists of the online session included Consul-General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, Mr Jeff Nankivell, Executive Director of Asian Development Bank, Mr Kris Panday and Director (Canada) of Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Mr Andrew Yui.