According to sources familiar with the topic, the meeting will be most chief executives of the world’s largest banks’ first visit to Hong Kong – historically a massive global conference location – in at least three years.
To deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese-controlled enclave closed its borders to most non-residents in early 2020, and it has
maintained some of the world’s toughest restrictions, starving its economy of tourist and commercial arrivals. Visitors to Hong Kong must be quarantined in hotels for seven days and must undergo mandatory testing before and after their arrival, as the city adheres to its near-zero COVID-19 plan to contain all outbreaks as soon as they arise.
These limitations, combined with temporary measures last year that separated spouses and children in quarantine facilities, prompted an exodus of expatriate employees from the city, particularly in financial sectors.
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According to the sources, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is collaborating with overseas investment institutions operating in Hong Kong on the event, which is set to take place in early November alongside the famed Rugby 7s competition.
The Rugby 7s are scheduled to take place from November 4 to 6, after being postponed several times since the outbreak began.
The necessary seven-day hotel quarantine regulations would need to be relaxed for the HKMA conference to attract global bankers, according to the sources, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
After a two-year prohibition, non-residents’ borders were reopened this month, however, their entry is subject to a seven-day hotel quarantine.
While exemptions allow senior financial executives visiting Hong Kong to leave their hotels for meetings, sources say that very few have used the scheme because itineraries must be filed with regulators.
To date, Hong Kong officials have made no public indication that they intend to remove quarantine requirements by November. According to an HKMA spokesman, the authority is planning a “high-level investment meeting” and will provide more details later.
“The HKMA has maintained regular contact with relevant government agencies to share with them the financial industry’s thoughts and ideas regarding Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic actions,” added the spokeswoman.
“On border control matters, we will defer to the proper government authorities.”
Carrie Lam, the outgoing Chief Executive of Hong Kong, stated this week that quarantine laws are unlikely to be changed before her tenure ends on June 30. John Lee, who will take over as CEO on July 1, has stated his desire for Hong Kong to remain a global financial center.
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