President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Tara Joseph is leaving her position but will remain at the helm for six months, giving some time for AmCham to find a new president. Reuters reported that Joseph's resignation was due to her failure to persuade the Hong Kong government to ease COVID-19 restrictions and the need to undergo quarantine herself. She told Reuters that she is currently in the US and would face three weeks of hotel quarantine if she returned to the city.
She said Hong Kong had entered "a new phase so quickly and it should appeal to people who don’t mind its new normal and see opportunities." However, she said American companies have a lot to navigate in the coming few years, Hong Kong always has potential. Joseph has been appealing the Hong Kong government to ease the city’s quarantine rules as currently, foreigners need to quarantine up to 21 days if they need to come to Hong Kong. Even Hong Kong residents coming from overseas countries could face the same period of quarantine, depending on where they are coming from.
However, there are some exemptions. Recently, JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon came to Hong Kong on Monday and was exempted from quarantine under current rules for some executives. He said he believed the city’s COVID-19 rules were making it tougher to retain staff.
Earlier this year, statistics from the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong showed that the number of US companies setting up regional headquarters in Hong Kong has dropped by 10% this year. As of 1 June, there were only 254 US businesses with regional hubs in Hong Kong, down from 282 in 2020. The number was the lowest since 2003, as there were only 242 companies with regional hubs from the US based in Hong Kong that year. Joseph also said that American businesses in the city fear internet curbs in China and hope local authorities will continue to commit to the free flow of information. She added "one of the key attributes of Hong Kong is that you can go onto Google, you can go onto Facebook and any other platform you want versus what you can do in mainland China."
US firms in Hong Kong hope for the continuation of free flow of information
Number of US businesses setting up regional hubs in HK drops