Follow by Email

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chambers of Commerce to CE: ‘Minister of Business’ and Press Freedom/Step up green initiatives

Yesterday we recorded a radio show that explored the right balance, in growing a green economy, between incentives and "friendly" legislation and too much government interference.  If we are going to successfully migrate away from a fossil-fuel economy, governments will need to set the right playing field without interfering with the game.

Here we see the same debate going on in Hong Kong.  Clearly they have some catching up to do in terms of base sustainability practices to other Asian countries.  Good, balanced regulation can help move that process along.

Next year is another pivotal 12 months for all nations on Earth.  We hope they move forward, not backwards, and spring board off the Paris talks into a worldwide, concerted effort to build a clean, green, efficient, smart global marketplace.

The HKSAR Government should step up green initiatives and ensure a business-friendly regulatory environment according to the Canadian and British Chambers of Commerce. Press freedoms and new ideas are also on their mind.

Foreign business communities in Hong Kong have put forward their suggestions to CY Leung regarding the upcoming Policy Address. HT looks at the ideas  proposed by The British Chamber of Commerce (BCCHK) and The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCCHK), which focus on Hong Kong’s business regulatory regime, green initiatives and education policies. 
February will tell if the CE is listening to international business that contributes so much to Hong Kong’s development. 
Chambers of Commerce to CE: ‘Minister of Business’ and Press Freedom
On business
It is not surprising that the BCCHK and CCCHK prioritise  business-related issues in their submissions to the administration.
To begin with, the BCCHK steals the spotlight by recommending the appointment of a ‘Minister of Business’ who would be comparable to a ‘mayor’ for the business community to enhance competitiveness, efficiency and effectiveness in the sector. The role would also be responsible to nurture small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.
Meanwhile, both Chambers express concerns over an increasingly excessive regulatory regime, with the CCC stating:
“[N]ew requirements on information exchanges, tax, Anti-Money Laundering and investment suitability have impacted client experience, increased the need for compliance resources and investment on system automation. Some of the requirements have become excessive.”
It suggests the Financial Services Development Council should coordinate various regulatory requirements to avoid overlap while its British counterpart proposes the establishment of a “transparent and cross-sector regulatory impact assessments” with a format similar to the Environmental Impact Assessment system.

On an international scale, the Government is urged to seek accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (should it be ratified) and to further the interests of the business sector upon introduction of the Automatic Exchange of Information and Common Reporting Standards enhanced by the OECD.
On green initiatives
Another focus of the two Chambers is Hong Kong’s green policy. The CCCHK looks at environmental issues in terms of air pollution, building energy efficiency and waste management. In particular, it claims Hong Kong is “one of the most wasteful, least recycling, population centres in North-East Asia, with Taiwan, South Korea and Japan being far ahead in achieving world-class waste management practices”. Recommendations includes greater focus on electronic road pricing, pedestrian zones, more comprehensive cycle paths, building design, energy efficient appliance application and adoption, and a waste charging system.

No comments:

Post a Comment