A senior Hong Kong official made a sudden trip to Beijing on Sunday amid speculation that he could be holding discussions with Beijing over a potential cut in the quota for mainland visitors to Hong Kong under the individual travel scheme.
Gregory So Kam-leung, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, will stay in Beijing for a day and return to Hong Kong Monday evening after a meeting with officials with Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.
Though a Hong Kong government press release did not mention the agenda, a source told Sing Tao Daily that a reduction in the mainland visitor quota will be among the topics that will be discussed.
Under a government plan, one-year visas that allow multiple entries, introduced in 2009, may be capped, the report said.
Entries of Shenzhen permanent residents to Hong Kong are proposed to be restricted to five to eight, it said. At present, there is no limit on the number of trips for one-year visa holders.
The move is expected to have some impact on visitors who come to Hong Kong for shopping or business trips, but the most severely affected will be the parallel goods importers, the paper said.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had sought opinions from a top government advisory body earlier on cutting the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong by 20 percent. However, that proposal is seen as too drastic, and the plan now is for a smaller cut in the visitor quota, the report said.
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