HK dispute affecting OFW shipments

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Wanchai, Hong Kong: A portion of Hong Kong’s trade and shipping is threatened by the possible drop of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) balikbayan box shipments, because of the present dispute between Hong Kong and the Philippines.

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The feud between the two countries stemmed from the Manila hostage-taking and the death of Hong Kong tourists, with the government of the former British colony demanding for national apology over the incident. But President Benigno Aquino 3rd refuses to issue an apology to Hong Kong, which has resulted in the nonvisa entry of Filipinos to their country.

Rosemarie Gallardo, an OFW for seven years in Hong Kong, told The Manila Times that over 3,000 balikbayan boxes from Hong Kong are sent to the Philippines on a weekly basis by Filipinos.

She further said that various promos and special packages were being offered to OFWs by trading and logistics companies in Hong Kong.

“Filipinos would grab the offer during promos,” Gallardo said in Filipino.

She explained that logistics firms and companies in Hong Kong offer discount to customers who avail themselves of big boxes or multiple shipments.

However, these shipments may grow less because hundreds of Filipinos are being laid off from their jobs in Hong Kong, because of its diplomatic feud with the Philippines.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) said that if the decline in shipments to the Philippines continues, there may be a “negative economic impact” on both sides.

“Unfortunately, political relations are beyond our remit . . . We hope that the current issues between Hong Kong and the Philippines will be satisfactorily and reasonably settled in the near future so as not to have any negative economic impact on either side,” the HKTDC said.

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