Free trade policy and necessary lockdown favoured by English-speaking Hong Kong citizens amid COVID-19 economic downturn

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Despite the temporal damage to the economy, respondents to a poll conducted by C|T Group does not oppose lockdown if there is another COVID wave.

Lockdown is preferred by the majority of English-speaking Hong Kong citizens in spite of its effect on the economy, according to C|T Group, a global consultancy firm. The firm deduces that the result suggests a positive response to the government’s anti-coronavirus measures in the last wave.

The firm polled English-speaking residents of Hong Kong, and recently published their response to questions related to recovery policy, lockdown measures and taxation.

A majority of respondents also reportedly favour policy attracting foreign investment and removing tariffs and trade barriers. They see such measures as possible ways to recover the economic slump caused by COVID-19.

“The Government has acted fast to get the latest wave of the virus under control and the effort is paying off. Hong Kong is open for business with our survey showing an appetite for inward investment and that workers feel confident about returning to their offices,” said Andrew Whitford, Managing Director of C|T East Asia.

Hong Kong has seen a slight resurgence of COVID-19, as the Centre for Health Protection reported 17 new cases on 8 October, including a number of untraceable cases.

The firm also reports that respondents from Hong Kong showed the strongest opposition to tax-increase compared to other markets polled, particularly to individual taxes such as VAT and income tax.

Should tax be raised for government bailouts, respondents think that big businesses should carry a greater financial burden and smaller businesses should be spared.

Cathay Pacific received a HK$39 billion bailout fund by the government in June, as the airline has been suffering heavy losses due to limited air travel amid COVID-19 travel restrictions. A proposal bailing out Ocean Park was also approved by legislators in May. The government will fund HK$5.4 billion to the theme park located in Wong Chuk Hang.

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