Hong Kong's economy still enjoys a high degree of freedom and this will not change in the face of difficult challenges, says Edward Yau Tang-wah, secretary for commerce and economic development.
In the Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom, for the first time since 1995, Hong Kong lost its leading position and was ranked No 2 in the index, trailing Singapore.
The economy still enjoys a high degree of freedom, which will not change despite current challenges
Edward Yau Tang-wah,
secretary for commerce and economic development
Yau said that he believed the drop in the index was because Hong Kong's economy suffered a “difficult year” in 2019, but he stressed that the economy still enjoys a high degree of freedom, which will not change despite current challenges.
He also said the SAR government would strive for continued recognition from the international community.
Separately, Yau said that under the Local Mask Production Subsidy Scheme, two companies have generally met the requirements for factory building, machinery as well as for production capacity. Yau said he would meet with these two companies later this week. Ten other companies also expressed interest in the program.
As COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, local demand for masks has surged, aggravating the supply shortage in Hong Kong which largely relies on imported masks.
The SAR government launched the Local Mask Production Subsidy Scheme under its Anti-epidemic Fund to start local mask production to address shortages and to build up reserve stocks. The program opened for applications on March 2.
As part of its efforts to combat coronavirus outbreak, the SAR government announced earlier it would grant a one-time subsidy to local licensed travel agencies and hotels. Yau said that around 1,500 travel agencies out of 1,900 have already received the HK$80,000 subsidy. Around 500 hotels out of 1,800 have also received subsidies ranging from HK$50,000 to HK$80,000.
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