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January 8th, 2016:

AmCham suggests Hong Kong join Trans-Pacific Partnership

In submission to upcoming Policy Address 2016, chamber says city should consider participating in pact as non-sovereign party or observer

The American Chamber of Commerce suggests Hong Kong consider joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and matching trading services within the pact to relevant areas under the mainland’s “One Belt One Road” initiatives.

The suggestion was made in the chamber’s submission to the upcoming Policy Address 2016, to be delivered by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying next Wednesday.

The chamber said Hong Kong would benefit by adopting an international approach to capture opportunities offered by the mainland’s “One Belt, One Road” initiatives and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

“AmCham submits that the government work closely with mainland authorities to elucidate the policy framework under which Hong Kong enterprises may participate,” it said.

Acknowledging Hong Kong’s role in linking up the region, the chamber suggests the city consider joining the TPP as a non-sovereign party or as an observer, and actively exploring the potential of matching trading services and goods within the pact to relevant areas under the “One Belt, One Road” initiatives.

The chamber’s submission includes recommendations on 10 policy areas, from Hong Kong-China relations, business climate, education and labour, to environment, financial services and intellectual property.

It welcomed the city’s being ranked as the freest economy for years, but said the government should be cautious of over-regulation that may hinder the city’s open and free market economy.

It also suggested that Hong Kong attract talent by raising the profile of vocational training, relaxing immigration provisions to allow mainland and overseas students to study in international business schools.

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Tobacco investor defends £1bn of shares in the industry

One of the UK’s best-known investors, Neil Woodford, has defended himself against claims he is endorsing an industry that other investors have shunned.

Mr Woodford, who owns over £1bn worth of shares in tobacco companies, told Wake Up to Money that during his career the industry has ‘outstripped every single other sector by a mile’.

Establishing himself as one of the UK’s best-known investors while running funds for Invesco, Mr Woodford set up his own firm in 2014, and now manages around £14bn of clients’ funds.