Daily Management Review

US Starts Process To Strip Hong Kong Of Special Status, Says Trump


The process of ending the special relationship between the United States and Hong Kong will soon be started by the administration of the United States President Donald Trump. The process will also include ending the special relationship on trade and law enforcement, Trump has said.
However the Trump did not specify the pace at which his administration would implement this measure and the complete scope of the actions.
While voicing a range of allegations against China’s “malfeasance”, Trump was highly critical of the country’s trade and security practices as well as the crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong.
All privileges that Hong Kong currently enjoys with the United States would be stripped off by Trump which will include an extradition treaty and commercial relations.
Trump said that there would be export controls on Hong Kong to prevent China from gaining access to certain types of advanced technology, Trump said. He however did not specify whether the import tariffs that is applicable for mainland China will also be applicable to China. 
“My announcement today will affect the full range of agreements we have with Hong Kong,” the president said, including “action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China.”
The measures by Trump came primarily as a response of China earlier this week to impose a new national security powers over Hong Kong. The US Congress was briefed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he said that there was no longer any significant autonomy present in Hong Kong as long as it was under Chinese rule.
According to Trump, the new security law for Hong Kong “extends the reach of China’s invasive state security apparatus into what was formerly a bastion of liberty.”  The US will also impose sanctions on those Chinese and Hong Kong officials who would be deemed to be responsible for the suppression of liberties in Hong Kong, he added.
The decision made by Trump may have significant implications for Hong Kong and its 7.5 million residents. The measures taken by Trump could further reduce international confidence in Hong Kong’s ability to maintain its singular identity and the advantage tha it enjoys as being the base for Chinese and foreign companies.
But considering the many unknowns surrounding what precise actions that Trump would take, analysts have advised caution. 
“Although there was a lot of fire and brimstone in the president’s remarks, there were few details,” said Scott Kennedy, an expert on China economic policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This could be devastating or of limited consequence depending on how the U.S. proceeds.”
The Trump administration has been cautioned by the American corporate executives and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents American businesses in Hong Kong, against being hasty about changing of relationship status which includes granting of territory advantages with respect to tariffs, export controls, visas and law enforcement cooperation, which are not given to mainland China.
“All necessary countermeasures” will be taken by China to counter actions by other countries over the Hong Kong issue, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said this week. China relies on Hong Kong as a first stop for financial and commercial transactions. Since business and property of many of the relatives of top party officials is present in Hong Kong, therefore they have interest in maintaining a positive global perception of the city. Many of the Chinese companies also get listed at the Hong Kong stock exchange and raise funds.
The actions of Trump could ultimately offer a greater opening for Chinese officials in consolidating control over the territory, warned some experts.
“The United States has very few options that would help Hong Kong resist Beijing’s efforts to curtail its autonomy,” said Jessica Chen Weiss, a government professor at Cornell University. A confrontation between the two powers over Hong Kong, she added, “would probably do more to hurt Hong Kong than persuade Beijing to alter course.”