The United States authorities started measures at the moment to finish its particular standing with Hong Kong, one month after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo informed Congress that Hong Kong ought to now not be thought-about autonomous from China. The new actions embody suspending export license exceptions for delicate U.S. expertise and ending the export of protection gear to Hong Kong. Both the Commerce and State Departments additionally mentioned additional restrictions are being evaluated.
The U.S. authorities’s bulletins had been made just a few hours earlier than information broke that China had handed a brand new nationwide safety legislation that may give it better management over Hong Kong. It is anticipated to take impact on July 1, in line with the South China Morning Post.
The time period “particular standing” refers to preparations that acknowledged the distinction between Hong Kong and mainland China beneath the “one nation, two methods” coverage put into place when the United Kingdom handed management of Hong Kong again to Beijing in 1997. These included completely different export controls, immigration insurance policies and decrease tariffs. But that preferential remedy was put into jeopardy after China proposed the brand new nationwide safety legislation, which many Hong Kong residents worry will finish the area’s judicial independence from Beijing.
The U.S Commerce Department and State Department issued separate statements at the moment detailing the brand new restrictions on Hong Kong. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross mentioned the Commerce Department will droop export license exceptions for delicate U.S. expertise, and that “additional actions to get rid of differential remedy are additionally being evaluated.”
The State Department mentioned that it’ll finish exports of U.S. protection gear and in addition “take steps towards imposing the identical restrictions on U.S. protection and dual-use applied sciences to Hong Kong because it does for China.”
In a press release to Reuters, Kurt Tong, a former U.S. consul normal in Hong Kong, mentioned that the U.S. authorities’s selections at the moment wouldn’t impression a considerable amount of commerce between the U.S. and Hong Kong as a result of the territory just isn’t a serious manufacturing middle and its financial system is generally companies.
According to figures from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Hong Kong accounted for two.2% of general U.S. exports in 2018, totaling $37.three billion, with the highest export classes being electrical equipment, treasured steel and stones, artwork and antiques, and beef. But the brand new restrictions may make tougher for U.S. semiconductor and different expertise corporations to do enterprise with Hong Kong purchasers.
Other restrictions proposed by the United States together with ending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
Both the State and Commerce departments mentioned that the restrictions had been put into place for nationwide safety causes. “We can now not distinguish between the export of managed objects to Hong Kong or to mainland China,” Pompeo wrote. “We can’t danger this stuff falling into the palms of the People’s Liberation Army, whose major function is to uphold the dictatorship of the CCP by any means crucial.”
In his assertion, Ross mentioned, “With the Chinese Communist Party’s imposition of latest safety measures on Hong Kong, the danger that delicate U.S. expertise can be diverted to the People’s Liberation Army or Ministry of State Security has elevated, all whereas undermining the territory’s autonomy.”