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Restoring WTO dispute system urged

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau called on World Trade Organization (WTO) members to support the restoration of a fully functioning dispute settlement system during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, yesterday.   At a meeting on dispute settlement reform, Mr Yau said the dispute settlement system has functioned as a cornerstone of global trade, creating stability and predictability. He added that to have a well-functioning system restored this year, as was mandated at MC12, would serve the interests of all WTO members and of the global business community.   He stressed that Hong Kong, China has been involved in every stage of the reform process in relation to dispute settlement and will continue its active participation.   Speaking at another meeting, on development, Mr Yau said that the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement is a very much a pro-development agreement.   He highligh

June retail sales up 5.8%

The value of total retail sales in June, provisionally estimated at $28.1 billion, rose 5.8% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in June, online sales accounted for 8.1%. Provisionally estimated at $2.3 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 63.8% year-on-year.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 2.8% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified increased 16%.   This was followed by sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+31.8% in value); wearing apparel (+18.8%); electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+10.6%); medicines and cosmetics (+8.9%); motor vehicles and parts (+36%); fuels (+5.1%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+10.8%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+6.8%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 7% for the period, followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-1.6% in value); commodities in department stores (-20.3% in value); furniture and fixtures (-3.6%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (-1.8%) and optical shops (-2.7%).   The Government said that retail sales further increased in June on a year-on-year basis as consumption demand revived further alongside the stable local epidemic and improved labour market situations.   For the second quarter as a whole, retail sales volume grew by 3.6% over the preceding quarter after seasonal adjustment, but it still stayed far below the pre-recession level with incoming visitors remaining scant.   Looking ahead, the Government pointed out that the Consumption Voucher Scheme will help stimulate local consumer sentiment and provide support to the retail sector.   To create conditions for further improvement in retail business and a broader based economic recovery, it is essential for the community to keep the epidemic under control and strive towards more widespread vaccination, it added.
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