Asia

Hong Kong AmCham president resigns over city's quarantine rules

HONG KONG (REUTERS) – The president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said on Tuesday (Nov 16) that she is resigning, as she cannot appeal to the city’s government to ease Covid-19 restrictions at the same time as having to undergo quarantine herself.

The Hong Kong government has come under immense pressure to open borders or risk losing executives and investment amid some of the world’s strictest quarantine rules, which some fear could hamper the city’s standing as a global financial centre.

“It is not in my nature to advocate on something, and then embark on quarantine like a stooge,” Ms Tara Joseph, who is currently in the United States and would face three weeks of hotel quarantine if she returned to the city, said.

“Hong Kong has entered a new phase so quickly and it should appeal to people who don’t mind its new normal and see opportunities. American companies have a lot to navigate in the coming few years but there is always potential in Hong Kong.”

Ms Joseph, a former Reuters journalist, has appealed to the government continuously on behalf of chamber members to ease the city’s quarantine rules. She said she would remain at the helm for six months while the American Chamber of Commerce finds a new president.

JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon, who was in Hong Kong on Monday and exempted from quarantine under current rules for some executives, said he believed the city’s Covid-19 rules were making it tougher to retain staff.

Despite barely recording any local coronavirus cases in recent months, the authorities in the global financial hub have tightened up quarantine rules in a bid to convince Beijing to allow cross-border travel.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has repeatedly said opening the border with mainland China, Hong Kong’s main source of growth, was her priority.

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