Exploring the Potentials of Metaverse in Training and Business (Seminar)
(This seminar will be held by SUCCESS on 14 July 2023 at Trade and Industry Tower)
The concept of Metaverse has evolved significantly in recent years. This seminar will introduce training technologies with Metaverse elements, Metaverse business applications, case studies and practical tips, with a view to assisting SMEs in enhancing their effectiveness by adopting innovative technologies with limited resources. (This seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
Webinar on “Resale Price Maintenance”
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 27 July 2023)
This webinar is organised by the Competition Commission. SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. In this webinar, representatives from the Competition Commission will explain the key elements of Competition Ordinance and resale price maintenance. The webinar will also share practical tips for suppliers and distributors, as well as examples／case studies. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
Intellectual Property Department: IP Training Programme “IP107 Special Session: Crypto, NFTs, metaverse and IP”
(This course will be live-streamed and held at the VTC Tower, Wan Chai on 4 August 2023)
This course aims to introduce the involvement of IP in the new technologies such as Crypto, NFTs and metaverse, allowing participants to be able to realise potential legal issues and protect their IP rights in the virtual world. The medium of instruction will be Cantonese. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the training course.
Interested participants may first enroll in the "IP Manager Scheme PLUS" for free by filling out an online form to get priority in course registration. Registration fee for the course is waived for members of the Scheme.
Inland Revenue Department – Warm Reminder on Profits Tax Return Filing Requirements
Please take note of the following new filing requirements when you do profits tax filing starting from 1 April 2023:
If you have any gross income during the basis period, you must submit your profits tax return together with all supporting documents (including financial statements and tax computation). Small corporations and businesses with gross income not exceeding HK$2 million will no longer be permitted to file their profits tax returns without supporting documents.
Where appropriate, you are required to electronically file (e-file) all relevant supplementary forms and other forms to be furnished with the profits tax return under the eTAX services provided at GovHK.
The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has already enhanced the eTAX services to enable more corporations and businesses (excluding sole proprietorship businesses) to voluntarily e-file their profits tax returns together with financial statements and tax computations in inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language (iXBRL) format. As an alternative to paper filing of your profits tax return, you are encouraged to participate in voluntary e-filing through the eTAX platform so as to enjoy a further one-month extension of filing deadline.
For details on the new filing requirements, please visit the IRD website (www.ird.gov.hk/eng/tax/bus_cpt.htm). For enquiries on the eTAX services, you may contact the eTAX Helpdesk Hotline at 183 2011. For enquiries in relation to the use of the IRD iXBRL Data Preparation Tools, you may contact the IRD at firstname.lastname@example.org or access e-Appointment to book-in-advance a specific timeslot. The IRD will contact you by phone at the booked timeslot.
Man Kam To Boundary Control Point (northbound) temporarily closed until further notice
Members of the public are advised that due to emergency situation, Man Kam To Boundary Control Point (northbound) has been temporarily closed until further notice. The northbound trips of Man Kam To cross boundary coach services would be diverted to travel via Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, and the service frequency would be revised from 30 minutes to around 45 minutes. Operator would display notices to inform passengers of the above service arrangements. Other Man Kam To cross boundary vehicles, including private cars, coaches and goods vehicles, please use other boundary control points to travel to the Mainland. Motorists are advised to drive with utmost care and patience, and follow the instructions of enforcement officers on site.
For relevant Special Traffic News, please visit https://www.td.gov.hk/en/special_news/spnews.htm.
Import and Export (Amendment) Ordinance 2023 gazetted and took effect
The Import and Export (Amendment) Ordinance 2023 took effect upon gazettal on 30 June 2023.
The Ordinance sets up the Alternative Smoking Product Transhipment Control Scheme (ATCS), allowing intermodal transhipment of alternative smoking products (ASPs) to overseas markets via Hong Kong International Airport under the ATCS.
A spokesman for the Transport and Logistics Bureau said, "The ATCS is managed, supervised and enforced by the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED). The ATCS has four major elements, namely advance registration and vetting, installation of security measures, advance cargo information as well as real-time monitoring, so as to tighten regulation on the intermodal ASP transhipment. Meanwhile, the Ordinance also raises the penalty level for the offence of importing ASPs, i.e. on summary conviction to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for two years, or on conviction on indictment to a fine of $2,000,000 and to imprisonment for seven years, in order to enhance the deterrent effect."
"The Ordinance has balanced the Government's strenuous effort in tobacco control and the imminent need to maintain Hong Kong's logistics and air cargo transhipment business in order to preserve Hong Kong's position as an international trade centre and aviation hub under the National 14th Five-Year Plan," the spokesman added.
Any person who wishes to register the ATCS may submit an application to the C&ED. Details of the ATCS have been uploaded to the C&ED's website (https://www.customs.gov.hk/en/service-enforcement-information/trade-facilitation/ASP/ATCS/index.html) for the public's reference.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/30/P2023063000628.htm.
Government proposed amendments to update regulations on merchant shipping for compliance with international standards
The Government gazetted on 30 June 2023 to propose legislative amendments to seven regulations under the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance (Cap. 369), the Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Ordinance (Cap. 413) and the Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) Ordinance (Cap. 548), to incorporate into local legislation the latest relevant requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), namely the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, the International Convention on Load Lines, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code). The legislative proposal was tabled at the Legislative Council for negative vetting on 5 July 2023.
The seven regulations to be amended are the Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Load Lines) Regulations (Cap. 369AD), the Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Life-saving Appliances and Arrangements, Musters and Training) Regulation (Cap. 369AY), the Merchant Shipping (Safety) (IMSBC Code) Regulation (Cap. 369AZ), the Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Radiocommunications) Regulation (Cap. 369BB), the Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Construction and Survey) Regulation (Cap. 369BD), the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Oil Pollution) Regulations (Cap. 413A), and the Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) (General) Regulation (Cap. 548F).
The proposed amendments include the requirement for the installation of water level detector for certain multiple-hold cargo ships, the unified interpretation of the accepted conditions of equilibrium after flooding, the modernisation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, as well as the regular revision of the IMSBC Code and the IMDG Code.
A spokesman for the Transport and Logistics Bureau said, "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has been sparing no effort in implementing the latest IMO requirements through local legislation so as to keep pace with the international standards. The proposed amendments will also contribute to enhancing maritime safety."
The Panel on Economic Development of the Legislative Council, as well as the Hong Kong Fleet Operation Advisory Committee and the Local Vessels Advisory Committee of the Marine Department, have been consulted on the legislative proposal. Members supported the proposal.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/30/P2023063000188.htm.
Government welcomes passage of Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2023
The Government welcomed the passage of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2023 (the Bill) by the Legislative Council on 6 July 2023.
The Bill amends the Insurance Ordinance (Cap. 41) and other relevant legislation for providing the legal framework to implement a Risk-based Capital (RBC) regime for the Hong Kong insurance industry.
The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, said "We are committed to reinforcing Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre and risk management centre. Enhancing the regulatory regime for the Hong Kong insurance industry on an ongoing basis is integral to promoting stable industry development. The implementation of the RBC regime will strengthen the financial soundness of the insurance industry, and align Hong Kong's insurance regulatory regime with international standards."
The Government will work with the Insurance Authority on further preparations, including more in-depth industry consultation on detailed regulatory requirements for the introduction of relevant subsidiary legislation. The target is to commence the RBC regime within 2024.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202307/06/P2023070400451.htm.
Amendments to relevant ordinance on optimisation of EIAO process took effect
The Government tabled earlier before the Legislative Council (LegCo) the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Amendment of Schedules 2 and 3) Order 2023 and the revised Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process (EIAO-TM) to update the technical assessment guidelines. The amendments were passed by the LegCo on 29 June 2023 and took effect on 30 June 2023.
"With the implementation of the amendments, the lists of designated projects (DPs) under Schedules 2 and 3 to the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) will be more clearly defined and better aligned with technological advancements and development needs in recent years. With the EIAO-TM amendments, the assessment methodologies used in the EIA study will become more transparent and efficient, streamlining the overall EIA process and enhancing consistency, which can be more focused on protecting the environment. The delivery of DPs can also be expedited," a Government spokesman said.
The amended Schedules 2 and 3 to the EIAO and the revised EIAO-TM have been uploaded to Environmental Protection Department's EIAO website (https://www.epd.gov.hk/eia/index.html) for public access.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/30/P2023063000275.htm.
Labour Importation Scheme for Transport Sector to accept applications from 17 July 2023
To relieve the acute manpower shortage in the aviation industry and the public light bus/coach trade, the Chief Executive in Council has earlier endorsed the introduction of the Labour Importation Scheme for the Transport Sector to suitably allow the relevant sectors to apply for importation of labour, on the prerequisite of safeguarding the employment of local labour. The Scheme will be open for applications from 17 July 2023. The quota ceilings for the aviation industry and the public light bus/coach trade are 6 300 and 1 700 respectively.
The spokesman for the Transport and Logistics Bureau (TLB) said, "Industry players have been continually enhancing their local recruitment and training efforts. However, it is still insufficient to plug the manpower gap in the relevant sectors. We need to adopt streamlined procedures to allow industry players to suitably import labour in order to expeditiously support the continual recovery of Hong Kong's aviation industry and maintain the stability of public transport services."
For the aviation industry, the specified job types for which the importation of labour is allowed are those facing the most acute manpower shortage, including passenger services officers, ramp services agents, cabin workers, aircraft maintenance mechanics/technicians, tractor drivers, warehouse operators/cargo handlers, equipment/loader operators, customer services agents, aircraft tug drivers and maintenance technicians. Applicants of the Scheme must be registered business entities which possess a contract/licence/franchise/passenger handling permit with the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) to operate their business at Hong Kong International Airport. Applicants also have to pay the AAHK $400 per month for each worker imported, while the AAHK will contribute an annual lump sum in an amount of the same magnitude as the total amount paid by employers. The AAHK will fully make use of the payments from the employers and its own contribution for subsidising transport costs of the local frontline staff responsible for airport operation.
The AAHK will organise a briefing for the industry on 12 July 2023 to explain the application procedures and operational details of the Scheme. Applicants shall submit the completed application form together with other required documents to the AAHK between 17 and 30 July 2023. An interdepartmental liaison group comprising representatives from the TLB, the Labour Department (LD) and the AAHK will consider the applications, and approval decisions will be made by the Permanent Secretary for Transport and Logistics. The approval process will be completed within one month from the date of receipt of applications by the AAHK.
In respect of the public transport services, importation of public light bus/coach drivers is allowed. Passenger Service Licence holders of public light bus/public bus services who wish to apply for importation of drivers shall submit the completed application form together with other required documents to the Transport Department (TD) between 17 July and 7 August 2023. An interdepartmental liaison group comprising representatives from the TLB, the TD and the LD will consider the applications, and approval decisions will be made by the Commissioner for Transport. The approval process will be completed within one to two months from the date of receipt of applications by the TD. During the application period, the TD will meet with representatives of the trade to explain the application procedures and operational details, as well as setting up designated enquiry lines to provide one-to-one assistance for prospective applicants. If needed, prospective applicants can also make appointments through designated lines to visit the specified TD offices in person for staff there to assist with the application process.
The TLB, the AAHK and the TD recently met with industry players and labour representatives, and set up respective stakeholder consultative groups. The proposals concerning the two sector-specific schemes mentioned above were introduced, and the views of the stakeholders, including labour representatives, were gauged. The Government and the AAHK will continue to maintain communication with the stakeholders and enhance information dissemination through the relevant consultative groups in order to facilitate the smooth implementation and execution of the Scheme. The implementation progress of the Scheme will also be reported to the Labour Advisory Board on a half-yearly basis.
The application forms and scheme details for the aviation industry and the public light bus/coach trade are uploaded onto the webpages of the TLB (https://www.tlb.gov.hk/eng/highlights/transport/labour_importation_scheme_aviation_industry.html) and the TD (https://www.td.gov.hk/en/lispc/index.html) respectively. For enquiries, please contact the AAHK at 2188 6603 or the TD at 2804 2600.
Upon the launch of the Scheme, the Supplementary Labour Scheme implemented by the LD will no longer accept applications for importation of labour for the aviation industry and the drivers of road public transport trade covered by the Scheme.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202307/10/P2023071000430.htm.
Deregistration of pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine effective from 1 January 2024
The Department of Health (DH) said on 7 July 2023 that owing to their benefits no longer outweigh the risks, pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine would be deregistered and should not be available in the market with effect from 1 January 2024.
Pholcodine is a centrally acting cough suppressant, which is used in adults and children to treat a non-productive cough. The Pharmacy and Poisons (Registration of Pharmaceutical Products and Substances: Certification of Clinical Trial/Medicinal Test) Committee (the Committee) of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong, at its meeting held on 6 July 2023, decided to, in the public interest as stipulated by the Pharmacy and Poisons Regulations (Cap. 138A), deregister pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine with effect from 1 January 2024, after taking into consideration various factors including the latest recommendations on pholcodine by overseas regulatory authorities, and advice given by local experts.
The Committee has consolidated information from other countries and the advice of local experts that the use of pholcodine in the 12 months before general anaesthesia with neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) is a risk for developing NMBA anaphylaxis.
In Hong Kong, there are currently 27 registered pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine. These products are listed in the Attachment. They are all Part 1 poisons controlled under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap. 138) and can only be sold at pharmacies under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.
The DH will issue letters to healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical traders to inform them of the Committee's decision to deregister pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine, and to advise healthcare professionals to arrange suitable alternative treatments for their patients.
When the Committee's decision takes effect on 1 January 2024, all drug manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and healthcare professionals must stop selling or supplying pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine. Drug manufacturers and wholesalers are also required to recall all products concerned from the market by 31 December 2023. The DH will take enforcement action against any illegal possession or sale of such products afterwards.
Under the Ordinance, illegal sale or possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products and Part 1 poisons are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.
The DH advised that doctors and pharmacies should stop prescribing or dispensing pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine. There are other medicines for cough treatment available in local market. Patients taking pharmaceutical products containing pholcodine should consult their healthcare professionals to review their treatment plans as soon as possible.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202307/07/P2023070700161.htm.
Response of HKSAR Government on release of final report by International Atomic Energy Agency regarding discharge plan of Fukushima nuclear power station
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its final report for its review on the safety of Japan's wastewater discharge plan (the final report) on 4 July 2023. The HKSAR Government's inter-departmental taskforce, which was formed in response to Japan's wastewater discharge plan, is reviewing the final report and will make further risk assessment regarding the discharge plan. The HKSAR Government will seek to obtain more information and relevant scientific evidence from Japan regarding how safety of the discharge can be guaranteed and follow up with the Japanese authorities on relevant matters. The HKSAR Government will take all necessary measures to safeguard food safety and public health of citizens in Hong Kong.
Since the Japanese Government's announcement of the discharge plan in 2021, the HKSAR Government has repeatedly expressed grave concern about the impact of the discharge plan on food safety, and has indicated clearly to the Japanese authorities that they should not discharge the wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power station into the ocean unilaterally without the consensus of the international community so as to avoid bringing about irreversible impacts on the environment. As the discharge plan is expected to last for 30 years, it is a real issue that worries the public as to how the Japanese authorities will ensure the effective operation of the treatment facility continuously, and how they will ensure that the discharge plan will not pose any potential risks to food safety and the marine ecosystem. The HKSAR Government has repeatedly indicated to the Japanese authorities that once Japan commences the discharge, the HKSAR Government will immediately take control measures, including imposing import control on aquatic products from high risk prefectures of Japan to prevent the potentially affected Japanese food products from entering Hong Kong, so as to ensure food safety and public health of citizens in Hong Kong.
Food safety is of an issue of paramount importance affecting public health. The Government is responsible for ensuring that food sold in Hong Kong is safe and fit for consumption. The HKSAR Government has formed an inter-departmental taskforce with the relevant government departments in response to Japan's wastewater discharge plan. The taskforce comprises the Environment and Ecology Bureau, the Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Hong Kong Observatory, the Department of Health and the Government Laboratory. The HKSAR Government will formulate and announce the import control measures on relevant food from Japan based on scientific and risk-based principles after taking into full consideration of the final report of the IAEA, the opinion of Mainland China's expert, risk assessments and relevant information, etc.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202307/04/P2023070400745.htm.