US announces end of preferential treatment for Hong Kong.
“I have signed a decree that ends the United States’ preferential treatment towards Hong Kong. Now we will treat them the same as mainland China,” Trump said at a press conference at the White House.
“They will not have special privileges, they will not have special economic treatment, and they will not be able to export delicate technologies to us. In addition, they already know that we have put massive tariffs on China,” recalled the US president, suggesting that these rates also apply to products from Hong Kong. .
Trump’s decree is one step further from his May announcement, when he has already ordered his government to minimize the preferential treatment it gives Hong Kong, a status that contributed to that former British colony becoming a global financial center for over the past two decades.
The move is part of Washington’s retaliation for passing the controversial Hong Kong national security law, which seeks to ban any act of Chinese central “subversion against the Government” in the semi-autonomous city and which Trump sees as a way to “oppress “to that territory.
“Today I have signed a law that gives me new and powerful tools to hold those persons and entities involved in the extinction of freedom in Hong Kong accountable,” he stressed.
He was referring to the Hong Kong Autonomy Law, recently approved by Congress and which allows the Trump Government to impose sanctions against foreign individuals and banks that have contributed to the alleged erosion of the autonomy of that territory.
“(Hong Kong) is no longer going to be able to compete with free markets. I suspect a lot of people are going to leave Hong Kong, and we will have more turnover (in the US) because of that, because we just lost a big competitor, “said Trump.
Trump’s announcement came hours after China announced sanctions on the U.S.-based arms company Lockheed Martin, and amid escalating tensions with Beijing over Hong Kong, the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.
Shortly thereafter, the Chinese government called the announcement “serious interference in the internal affairs” of its country and threatened to retaliate.
By means of a statement published on its website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Asian power announced that “to safeguard its own legitimate interests, China will give the appropriate response and impose sanctions on the personnel and the competent US authorities.”
In Beijing’s opinion, Trump tries to “obstruct” the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, a controversial text imposed by Beijing in the semi-autonomous city and that punishes even life sentences certain assumptions that, in the eyes of the Chinese Government , pose a threat to their security and territorial integrity.
However, lawyers, activists, journalists and a large part of Hong Kong society have expressed their opposition to this legislation, for fear that it will end the freedoms enjoyed by the former British colony and that, thanks to the 1984 Sino-British Declaration ( the agreement that articulated the reversal of sovereignty from British hands to Chinese in 1997), were to be maintained until at least 2047.