Parallel trading

Anti-parallel trading protests ‘unhelpful for Hong Kong’s image as a tourist destination’, CY Leung says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 10:52am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 8:00pm

Protests against cross-border parallel trading in Hong Kong were bad for the city’s image as a tourist destination, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said today, as he renewed calls for Hongkongers to welcome travellers.

Speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting this morning, Leung described a demonstration in Sheung Shui on Sunday attended by some 150 protesters – the first rally against parallel-goods trading in the city in around half a year – as “unhelpful”.

“The protest in Sheung Shui is completely unhelpful in building Hong Kong’s image as a city for tourists,” he said.

“I would fight for support from the central government on the policy level but Hong Kong society should also create an atmosphere to make guests – not only from mainland [China] but also other countries – feel at home here. [It would not work without] the participation of those minorities who protest against tourists.”

READ MORE: No plan to lift two-can milk formula limit at the border, says Hong Kong health minister

Leung said the impact of a new policy limiting Shenzhen residents to one cross-border trip a week since April “would be seen gradually”, adding that “parallel-goods trading activities, which have been bothering some districts for a period of time, have now recorded an apparent drop.”

The city’s leader reiterated that a distinction should be made between parallel-goods trading and genuine tourism, adding that Hong Kong would continue to develop the latter.

Meanwhile, Leung said he had yet to receive any message from Liberal Party lawmaker Vincent Fang Kang, who earlier called on the administration to scrap the two-can limit on infant milk formula travellers can take across the border.

Consultants hired by the government had been closely following the market situation and it was not the right time to relax or shelve the measure at the moment, Leung said.

Separately, referring to recent meetings between central government officials and a number of pan-democrats, including Democratic Party members and outgoing lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah, Leung said the government would continue to create more opportunities to allow different parties, including pro-democracy forces, to exchange dialogue with Beijing.