China announced on Thursday that it plans to introduce a law in Hong Kong that is expected to ban sedition, secession and harassment against Beijing. This will enable Chinese national security agencies to operate in the city.
“Hong Kong today stands as a model for free trade, strong governance, free flow of information and skills,” said Robert Greaves, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. “No one can win if the foundation of Hong Kong’s role as a major international business and financial center is destroyed.”
A traditionally stable place to manage
Nevertheless, Hong Kong’s position as a global business destination has never felt secure since the protests spread.
“The road to hell is often paved with good intentions,” Lee said in August. “We need to be aware of the unnecessary consequences.”
The United States imported about 17 17 billion worth of goods and services from Hong Kong in 2018, while exporting $ 50 billion.
These numbers, however, do not tell the whole story of US-Hong Kong relations, and the city of special status offers much more than business opportunities.
“[It’s] Somewhat confusing … because the United States views trade through Hong Kong as trade with China, “said William Raines, chair of the Center for International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.” Regardless, I think the real issue is that the actual amount of business is less than the signal of a change of status regarding the unreliability of doing business with Hong Kong. “
A serious development
City analysts say the threat to revoke Hong Kong’s special status in the United States could “unbalance business confidence”, with more than 1,300 companies operating alone in the United States, City analysts said.
“It remains to be seen whether the United States will immediately repeal this law,” they wrote in a research note on Friday. “Our economists have argued for its special status [Hong Kong] The United States and China, both of which have significant interests in maintaining stability, are likely to be nearby. “
Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo also said Friday that Beijing’s plan for Hong Kong’s autonomy was promised “a death knell.” And if it goes ahead, it will affect Washington’s assessment of the state of the region.
“The United States urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, to abide by its international obligations, and to strongly respect Hong Kong’s superior autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties, which are key to maintaining its special status under U.S. law,” he said. .
“This authoritarian national security plan must be called into question [Hong Kong’s] Stephen Ines, chief global market strategist at Axi Corp, wrote in a research note on Friday, “Dignity as a World Bank center.” I think it’s pretty serious. “
Companies doing business in Hong Kong are also concerned about what Beijing’s national security law might be for those working in the city, and whether it could have a cooling effect on its ability to attract foreign workers.
Tara Beijing, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said in a statement that “the Beijing-inspired National Security Act provides an explanation of how this law will be implemented.”
The business lobby group added that enforcing a vaguely defined national security law would make it more difficult to recruit and retain top-level talent. “