Chairman's Note 2 April 2024

I am very proud of our first DutchCham Business Talk edition, our weekly newsletter to inform you in a timely manner about current affairs, activities and more member-driven content with different themes throughout the year. Every month, one of our committees is in the spotlight. This month it's the PR & Pub Committee. The committee members Annemarelle van Schayik, Zuba Adham-Bos, Monique de Raaij, Iris Barzilay and Rene Hengeveld have made it possible to switch completely to our digital Business Talk. They have also updated our advertising kit, which creates new opportunities and exposure for our members. Soon, they will share more insights.

Looking ahead to this year, one of our activities as a chamber is lobbying and advocacy to support our members in doing business in Hong Kong and China. Four times a year, there is a meeting of the International Business Committee ("IBC") chaired by the Chief Financial Secretary Hong Kong, Paul Chan, where all chambers and business associations have a face-to-face platform to share ideas/concerns and provide feedback on initiatives and proposals from the Hong Kong Government. One of the topics high on the agenda is developments in the Greater Bay Areas, including the free movement of capital, resources and data. Last week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Prime Minister) and Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Geoffrey van Leeuwen concluded their two-day visit to Beijing and discussed economic cooperation and the importance of a level playing field, including free access to the Chinese market.

On Monday, February 26, I participated in the roundtable with representatives of foreign chambers organized by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Honorable Mr. Xia Baolong, the Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Work Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council. The Dutch Chamber of Commerce took the opportunity to make additional suggestions regarding Hong Kong's competitiveness as an International Hub of Business and Finance. Firstly, we shared positive feedback about the visa waiver policy for Dutch citizens for 15 days, which allows cross-border travel for companies and entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, as well as for (executive) employees of head offices in the Netherlands to visit and see the developments and opportunities in China. We strongly recommend extending this pilot beyond its original expiry date of 1 December 2024 and extending it to other EU jurisdictions. Secondly, we mentioned the Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS), launched on 28 December 2022. TTPS allows talents from the top 100 universities of the world to get a 24-month work visa in Hong Kong. Through this scheme, our members are able to attract new talent to their Hong Kong branches. At the same time, the need for specific talents in hospitality, IT and engineering remains, as they often fall outside the scope of this scheme. For these skills, a broadening of the current scheme with vocational profiles would be effective for the Dutch business community.

As a Chamber, we have several channels to speak out, so please let us know what's going on and how we can support you.

I hope you enjoy our new Business Talk, and you are more than welcome to share any feedback or improvement areas.

Kind regards,

Frery Winkel
Chair DutchCham

Frery Winkel