Hong Kong’s Regina Ip on influence on U.S. services

Hong Kong's Regina Ip on impact on U.S. businesses

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An workplace employee using a protective mask brings a take-out lunch order while strolling towards the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Monday, March 2, 2020.


Any counter determines that China lobs back in retaliation for the U.S. choice to withdraw Hong Kong’s unique status will not likely injured American financiers, a pro-Beijing legislator in the city stated.

U.S. President Donald Trump revealed Friday that he would start to get rid of Hong Kong’s preferential trade and customizeds status with the United States. Trump did not offer information about precisely what actions would be taken.

His choice remained in reaction to China authorizing a proposition for a questionable brand-new security law for Hong Kong — critics state the law will approve the main federal government sweeping powers to squash dissent. 

Regina Ip, a member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council and Legislative Council, informed CNBC that Beijing might take actions to strike back if the U.S. freezes the possessions of Chinese authorities, for example.

“If the U.S. freezes Hong Kong assets, or Chinese assets, Beijing could take counter measures,” she stated. “There are no specifics yet, although the Chinese (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) have said that if the U.S. imposes sanctions on Hong Kong, there will be counter measures.”

One nation, 2 systems

The Chinese area was dogged by months of pro-democracy demonstrations in 2015 that paralyzed its economy and dealt a heavy blow to its retail and travel sectors. Protests relieved previously this year as the coronavirus break out took hold, however they have actually been reignited once again with the current law proposed by Beijing.

Hong Kong — a previous British nest that was turned over to China in 1997 — is ruled under the “one country, two systems” formula. That structure grants the Asian monetary center flexibility of speech and restricted autonomy such as its own laws, courts and currency. 

Trump stated Friday that Hong Kong is “no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory since the handover.”

His statement to get rid of unique trade and travel treatment for Hong Kong raised worries amongst business neighborhood that it would affect the more than 1,300 American business running in the Chinese city.

However, Ip stated: “Counter measures (by Beijing), I think, will be targeted at specific measures imposed by the U.S. It won’t affect the legitimate, business, economic and financial activities of foreign investors, including American investors in Hong Kong.” 

Trade ramifications

It might likewise impact trade.

Due to its unique status, Hong Kong has actually presently been excused from tariffs that the U.S. troubled China as part of the trade war in between the 2 nations. A U.S. law, passed in 2015, needs that Hong Kong maintains sufficient autonomy to receive a beneficial trading relationship with the U.S. But the brand-new security law is stated to successfully bypass Hong Kong’s legislature, reigniting issues over the city’s lessening liberties.

But Ip indicated the “substantial commercial American interests in Hong Kong.” 

She stated that 85,000 American nationals and 1,300 business were “making a lot of money.”

“So I think U.S. will calibrate its measures carefully.”

Meanwhile, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Tara Joseph, informed CNBC that it will deal with its member business to “maintain HK’s status as a vital global and business and financial center.”

“This announcement does not mean that US companies will be flipping a switch in HK and running for the exits. There are many unanswered questions about how the US – HK special status could be unwound. The more clarity business receives, the more helpful it will be at this challenging juncture,” she stated.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng added to this report.

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