HIGH TIDE (APRIL 25TH 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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AEOI consultation launched; High Court orders review on licence for HKTV; HSBC eyes potential relocation. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Gov’t launches consultation on exchange of account information in tax matters.
– The Government has launched a consultation on endorsing the automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters (AEOI) advocated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
– The proposals are related to standards including the types of financial institutions have to obtain from account holders and the mechanism to report relevant information to the Inland Revenue Department and designated bilateral AEOI partners
– Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury KC Chan said that the standards will be implemented with adaptations for the city

Politics (general)

Second chance for Ricky Wong as judge rules Exco’s HKTV decision unlawful.
– HKTV’s Ricky Tong can take a second chance to get a TV licence as the High Court ruled that the CE in Council should not refuse issuing one useless technical difficulties could be justified
– Mr Justice Thomas Au wrote that “HKTV had a legitimate expectation that its licence would not be rejected on the basis that there would be a pre-fixed number of licences to be granted”
– Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said the authorities will study the court’s ruling and decide the next step

Fierce debate over Beijing’s role in appointing CEs.
– Rumours reached Hong Kong that Beijing is considering setting up a new framework on CE appointments
– Pan-dem lawmakers and figures including former CS Anson Chan voiced against the potential regulations while pro-establishment camp said there is nothing wrong or illegal with the move
– Civic Party’s Dennis Kwok worried (in Chinese) that the regulations would only serve as yet another precondition on CE elections
– Kwok’s party compatriot Ronny Tong also said “the election system now proposed is already very restrictive…I don’t see why it should add the law at this stage”
– Meanwhile, it was suggested that Beijing officials have been considering meeting with Pan-dems on political reform

Regina Ip apologises for any “misunderstanding” caused by her remarks on domestic helpers.
– Exco member Regina Ip apologised “to all those who have felt offended” as protests against her provocative remarks on domestic helpers seducing foreign bosses continue
– Ip, meanwhile, stressed that her article has been misinterpreted and denied criticisms that she was racist or sexist
– Spokesman of the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body welcomed the statement but said that they will still hold a march on Sunday as Ip “had always been on the opposite side of the migrant workers in Hong Kong”

China & World

EU backs calls for a genuine choice in CE election.
– The European Commission and the European Union External Service issued a joint annual report on developments in the HKSAR
– It was stated the EU is “keen that the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ be fully respected and implemented” and “supports the wish of the Hong Kong people to have a high degree of political participation and a genuine choice in the Chief Executive election of 2017 and thereafter”

HSBC hints possible relocation of its headquarter to Hong Kong.
– HSBC threatened to relocate its headquarter back to Hong Kong in response to tightened financial regulations in the UK after the financial crisis along with uncertainties of the country’s future in EU after the election
– HSBC chairman Douglas Flint said the relocation “would be potentially interesting”
– Hong Kong Monetary Authority released a statement that it would take “positive attitude” toward the development