Chamber News & Policy Work 2020

British Chamber sends a letter to the Food and Health Bureau and Hospital Authority regarding the progress of the Hong Kong Cancer Strategy

Following a meeting between BritCham representatives and the Food and Health Bureau and Hospital Authority, we have written a letter to invite Professor Chan and Dr Yeung to a follow-up meeting to further discuss the progress of the Hong Kong Cancer Strategy.

The Hospital Authority has carried out measures to cope with the emergency conditions and we consider that many of these should be continued and enhanced to benefit cancer patients. In particular, we highlighted 3 key areas for consideration: (1) Increase capacity through enhanced PPP projects; (2) expedite and improve patient access to therapies; and (3) Use innovative technologies to improve delivery of holistic services.

Click here to view the letter.


The British Chamber Submits Digital Healthcare Paper to Hong Kong Government

The Chamber attended a meeting with Mrs Carrie Lam in September 2020 to discuss our GBA submissions. Mrs Carrie Lam requested for us to follow up with a more detailed briefing paper on the important subject of digital health. The Chamber’s Healthcare sub-committee, under the leadership of Dr Hanif Kanji, has since worked on a briefing paper.

The paper analyses in some detail the WHO’s digital health strategy; international experience in digital health across a number of jurisdictions; and the current position in Hong Kong, before then going on to set out our recommendations, both in terms of quick wins and a longer-term strategy. The COVID 19 pandemic has created an impetus to change the way in which health services are delivered with a more flexible and modern approach, leveraging digital technology. It is critical, in our view, that Hong Kong embraces this change.

Click here to view the full paper.


2020 British Chamber Policy Matching

The Chief Executive presented her Policy Address, entitled “Striving Ahead with Renewed Perseverance” on Tuesday 25 November. Each year the Chamber submits a paper, ahead of her Policy Address, putting forward the Chamber’s key policy recommendations and suggestions for the Chief Executive and the administration. This year had particular importance given Hong Kong has faced an unprecedented past 12 months. 

This submission draws on the huge range of practical expertise and knowledge across the Chamber membership, in particular in the Chamber’s specialist Committees. We back this up with regular closed door meetings with senior members of the administration; and with stand alone policy or position papers.

Click here to read the Chairman's message.

Click here to view the policy matching document.


British Chamber Response to Questions on NSL from International Chambers of Commerce

The Chamber's National Security Legislation (NSL) sub-committee submitted a list of clarifications and questions to the Government. Questions were also submitted from other Chambers (as part of the International Business Committee, IBC) and business organisations at the request of the Government.

We have recently received the Governments’ response to a number of the questions raised. The full response together with the full set of questions raised by IBC members to which they are intended to be responsive can be found here (members only). 

We are grateful to the Government for providing the responses which are helpful in a number of areas.


British Chamber Letters to Government - Current Travel Restrictions and Quarantine Arrangements  

The Chamber is aware that, for many members, the current travel restrictions and quarantine arrangements are causing considerable hardship, particularly for the SME community and, more recently, for parents with children at school or college in the UK.

We have had various meetings with Government and others on these topics where we have expressed support for arrangements to be adopted which will ease these restrictions and result in the resumption of trusted travel. This is now seen as an urgent issue by many. We have accordingly written two letters to Government – one from the Chamber’s Chairman dealing with the broader issue of restoring trusted travel (on which we have worked with the SME Committee) and one from the Chamber’s Executive Director on the UK’s designation as a high risk place (with consequent stricter quarantine restrictions).

The letter can be found here (members only).


British Chamber Annual General Meeting Announcement 2020

The British Chamber held its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 2 September 2020. Peter Burnett, Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong Ltd was re-elected as Chairman of the Chamber for 2020 - 2021.

The meetings also saw Anne Kerr, Mott MacDonald, and Jeremy Sheldon, Jones Lang LaSalle Ltd re-elected as Vice-Chairs. Paul McSheaffrey, KPMG will continue to serve as the Treasurer. The Chamber also welcomed Alex Newbigging, Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited and Jardine International Motors, Anthony Davies, Barclays Bank Plc, and James Turner, Prudential plc to its General Committee as new Elected Members.

To read the full press release, click here.

To read the Chairman's full report, click here.


British Chamber 2020 Policy Address Submission

On Friday 7 August, the Chamber issued its annual Policy Address Submission. The 2020/21 Policy Address submission outlines the Chamber’s key priority policy recommendations for the Chief Executive and her administration.

Our submission adopts the themes of "Recovery, Rebuilding and Repositioning" as Hong Kong moves forward.

  • In terms of "Recovery", this is about learning the lessons from COVID-19; finding an appropriate methodology to keep businesses going until we can open up the economy again and reduce current travel/quarantine restrictions; and regaining community trust in the way forward for our city.
  • In terms of "Rebuilding", we have focused on the need for a major programme of infrastructure investment; rebuilding the SME economic base in Hong Kong; continuing to grow our financial markets; refreshing and enhancing the healthcare system; as well as strengthening the logistics sector.
  • In terms of "Repositioning", we see the need to rebuild and refresh Hong Kong's international competitiveness and international reputation; and also for a longer term focus on digitalisation, a more liveable city and education. We also see the need to take steps to reduce social and gender inequality.

We have sought to make specific recommendations where appropriate.

Click here to view the document.


The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong Annual General Meeting 2020

The Chamber will hold its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 2 September 2020 at 5:30pm. The venue is currently the Harcourt Suite of the Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central, Hong Kong. In observance of social distancing, we might need to conduct the meeting online. We will closely monitor the Government’s guidance and keep you all posted on the details of the meeting.

To see the full notice, please click here.

Profiles of the candidates nominated for the General Committee of 2020–2021 can be viewed here.

Please come and support the Chamber for this important corporate governance event. To register, please email [email protected] as soon as possible.


British Chamber - GBA Position Paper

The Greater Bay Area initiative (“GBA”) has generated a great deal of interest amongst the British Chamber of Commerce members. We have been hosting a series of events and round-tables exploring the opportunities and the barriers for successful implementation that some of you will have attended. In addition, we formed the Greater Bay Area British Business Network last year in partnership with the British Chambers in southern China and Macao, the Confederation of British Industry and the Mainland China Britain Business Council. The focus of the network is to exchange information and coordinate our work on GBA, which is one of our top priorities for the next 12-24 months.

Following the request last year by the Chief Executive for the business community to actively provide input, the Chamber has recently submitted our first position paper to the Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs which sets out the thinking of BritCham Hong Kong. It consists of both broad cross-cutting themes and detailed recommendations. This position paper is an initial paper and focuses on recommendations for five key sectors: financial services, logistics, healthcare, education as well as energy and environment. Covid-19 is forcing us all to reappraise the importance of IT and digital technologies in every aspect of life and for this reason we envisage sharing our thinking on this and other sectors with the government later this year.

We will continue to provide further updates on our dialogue with government in due course.

Click here to read the full paper (member only)


Infra Action Plan

The Chamber Chairman, Peter Burnett, wrote to the Chief Executive, proposing an Infra Action Plan to support the construction sector in relation to employment and the Hong Kong economy. The construction industry is of vital importance to the Hong Kong economy, in its contribution to GDP (15%) and employment (8% of the workforce).

Drawing on the considerable expertise and experience in the Chamber’s Construction Industry Group and International Infrastructure Forum – the Chamber has developed a strategy that aims to address these challenges, both in the short and medium term, in a systematic and strategic manner. The strategy proposes an innovative collaboration bringing together Government and private sector to produce an "Infra Action Plan" to procure and deliver major infrastructure projects quickly and efficiently.

Click here to read the full letter.


HM The Queen praises Chambers’ contribution to business communities during Coronavirus as more firms reopen

Her Majesty The Queen has offered support to businesses as they reopen, and praised the contribution Chambers of Commerce across the UK and around the world are making to help firms, champion trade and rebuild communities, in a letter released today.

The letter from Her Majesty, Patron of the British Chambers of Commerce, comes as businesses across the UK are reopening and adjusting to a new normal.

The full letter can be found here.


The British Chamber of Commerce in China Position Paper

11/06/2020: British Chambers of Commerce in China 

The British Chamber Position Paper created by the British Chambers of Commerce in China to provide advocacy and representation on behalf of British businesses operating in China is now live. In these unprecedented times, there is more need than ever for British businesses to be able to speak with a strong, unified voice. British businesses across a range of sectors in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Southwest China come together to raise the regulatory barriers that they face, areas of opportunity for bilateral cooperation and recommendations for market access reform.

The Paper has been presented to the UK and China governments in order to directly inform trade policy and negotiations.

Key points from the paper are:

  • Strengthen the implementation of market reforms at all levels
  • Address longstanding and continuing concerns around cybersecurity and IT restrictions
  • Promote greater liberalisation of the capital account
  • Reduce the direct presence of state-owned enterprises in the market
  • Keep conversations on bilateral trade frequent and open

Download the full paper here.


Chamber Chairman Updates - National Security Legislation (Message to Chamber Members)

"You will have seen the announcements and press coverage concerning the proposal made last week at the Third Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress in Beijing to introduce legislation “to safeguard national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”. The NPC has endorsed the decision at a vote taken on 28th May. Hereafter the Standing Committee of the NPC will be authorised to draft the detailed and specific legislation.

Click here to read the full message (member only)


The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong - Appointment of Executive Director 


The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (BritCham) is delighted to announce the appointment of David Graham as its Executive Director, effective 1st June, 2020. David succeeds Andrew Seaton who, for family and personal reasons, is retiring from the Chamber and returning to the United Kingdom. Peter Burnett, Chairman of BritCham, said: “I am personally delighted and the Chamber is very fortunate that David has agreed to become our next Executive Director. He has an exceptional knowledge of the Hong Kong business community and a career history of working in senior positions in Hong Kong which will serve the Chamber and our members very well at this important and challenging moment and for the future. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Seaton for his enormous contribution to the work and leadership of the Chamber over the last five years.”

Click here to read the full Press Release.


Covid-19 Economic Relief Package


The Government yesterday launched an additional economic relief package. This consists of: a general employment subsidy scheme; a job creation programme; and sector specific measures including support for the construction and aviation industry and for sectors which have been hardest hit and forced to close in order to control the outbreak.

Peter Burnett, Chamber Chairman, has commented: “We welcome this package, which should provide much needed support to hard-pressed Hong Kong businesses. I am particularly pleased to see the support to businesses to maintain employment, which we have seen as a priority.” 

The Chamber alongside other leading international Chambers wrote to the Financial Secretary earlier this month urging the Administration to implement further support to allow businesses to maintain employment.  

Details from the Administration of the support measures are here.


Joint Chamber Letter to Financial Secretary: Support to Business to Maintain Employment


The Chamber Chairman, Peter Burnett, along with the leaders of the American, Australian, French and German Chambers, have written to the Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, encouraging the HK Government to consider, as an urgent priority, some form of financial support to business to maintain employment. 

With the  Covid-19 outbreak having become global, this has significantly added to the immediate pressure on businesses. The Chambers believe that support of this sort would help Hong Kong businesses face these pressures, and most importantly help keep Hong Kong citizens in employment  

Click here to read the full letter. 


Chamber letter to Government on Additional Covid-19 Support for Business


The Chamber’s Board met with Edward Yau – Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, to discuss the relief measures for businesses dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.  

Following this productive dialogue, the Chamber has written to the Secretary reiterating two critical issues which must be addressed. The first being to provide further immediate relief measures which will support businesses to maintain employment. The second issue is ensuring the Administration has ‘button ready’ exit strategies for once the virus is waning – to ensure Hong Kong emerges from this crisis with a refreshed business proposition.  

You can read the letter to the Administration online here.


Chamber Chairman’s Letter: Hong Kong / UK Free Trade Agreement


The Chamber Chairman, Peter Burnett, has written to the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, on behalf of the Chamber, encouraging the UK Government to consider a Free Trade Agreement with Hong Kong as a priority as it moves ahead with its new post-Brexit trade relationships. The letter sets out the Chamber’s case for this including the opportunities for a wide range of business sectors.

Click here to see the full letter. 


Letter to Chief Executive for Central Harbourfront Site 3


The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong warmly welcomes the announcement by the Secretary for Development at the launch of the 2020-21 Land Sale Programme that the tender for the New Central Harbourfront Site 3 will be managed on a “Two Envelope Approach”. Combining both design and price criteria in the tender evaluation will, in our view, result in an optimal outcome for this iconic waterfront site.

In our letter to the administration dated 2nd February 2018, we were strongly supportive of incorporating design criteria in the tender award process. These would include an imaginative, people-focused approach and improving accessibility to the waterfront for the enjoyment of all Hong Kong residents.

Click here to read the full letter to the Chief Executive from Peter Burnett, Chairman of the British Chamber.


2020 British Chamber Budget Address Policy Matching and Highlights


Yesterday the Financial Secretary presented the Budget Address. Every year the Chamber draws up a paper, ahead of the Chief Executive’s Policy Address, putting forward key policy recommendations for the Chief Executive, Financial Secretary and the administration. This submission draws on the huge range of practical expertise and. knowledge across the Chamber membership, in particular in the Chamber’s specialist Committees. We back this up with regular closed door meetings with senior members of the administration; and with standalone policy or position papers.

This matching document identifies policy proposals from the British Chamber with relevant announcements in the Financial Secretary’s Budget Address. It also highlights other announcements from the Budget Address which may be of relevance and interest to Chamber Members.

Click here to view the policy matching document.


Letter from Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.


An update on the Government’s strategy and efforts to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection in Hong Kong.
Click here to read the letter.