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2022-10-02 HKT 12:44
The CEO of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce said on Sunday quarantine-free travel with the mainland needs to resume in order for Hong Kong to enjoy a full economic recovery.
Speaking after a radio programme, George Leung also said the government should go for a "zero-plus-zero" policy as soon as possible.
He said even if the policy is to be implemented this quarter, its effects won't be felt until the first quarter of next year.
"Large-scale activities need some one to two months to plan. Hopefully, we are going to see 'zero-plus-zero' very soon so that we can see a more visible rebound early next year in Hong Kong," he said.
But Leung said "zero-plus-zero" alone is not enough to bring a full economic recovery.
"For Hong Kong to fully recover, I think other than quarantine-free travel with overseas countries, equally important is to have quarantine-free travel with mainland China. If we (can) achieve this next year, then we will see likely a full rebound in the Hong Kong economy."
Currently, overseas arrivals are subject to the "zero-plus-three" policy under which they will undergo three days of medical surveillance after coming to Hong Kong.
On efforts to tackle the city's brain drain, Leung said Hong Kong's threshold for importing talent in the past was too high, with a focus on attracting top staff.
He called on the government to change the strategy and try to attract mid-level talent as well.
He added that Hong Kong could offer housing allowances and relax visa requirements, so as to compete for talents with countries like Singapore.
On suggestions that attempts to attract foreign talent may be unfair to local workers, Leung said getting non-Hong Kong staff to work and stay here for a long period of time is a win-win situation for the SAR. But he also said the government should resolve the housing shortage here, otherwise local residents would be hurt by high property prices.