The Loans (Amendment) Bill 2014, to accommodate the issuance of Islamic bonds (sukuk) under the Hong Kong Government Bond Program, was gazetted Friday and will be tabled at the Legislative Council (LegCo) on Jan. 22. Hong Kong's Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury K C Chan said the government amended its tax laws in July 2013 to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness through developing a sukuk market, by providing a taxation framework for the bonds comparable to that for conventional bonds. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is examining practical issues on formulating a sukuk issuance plan. Bonds issued under such a program could encourage other potential issuers to raise funds in Hong Kong, he said. "This will help diversify the types of financial products and services available in our markets and consolidate our status as an international financial center and asset-management center," he added.