image image

United States

Hong Kong’s special customs status with the US is safe: there is no cause for alarm

  • Hong Kong has always been an international city and the need to meet international standards runs deep here, US representatives are well aware of that
  • The bilateral trade relationship is of crucial importance to both sides, as is Hong Kong’s unique customs status under “one country two systems”
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 6:33am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 6:33am

Last month, I paid a visit to Washington at the invitation of US congressman Robert Pittenger, to attend the Parliamentary Intelligence Security Forum chaired by him. It was my pleasure meeting congressmen, representatives from US business sectors and acclaimed experts with deep exposure to and expertise in countering terrorism-financing and money laundering.

I was given an opportunity to express Hong Kong’s eagerness to meet international standards in this regard. Hong Kong has always been an international city, and the need to meet international standards runs deep here. US representatives are well aware of that. Over the years, we have indeed seen growing foreign investments in Hong Kong. Actions speak louder than words, and are proof of their confidence in Hong Kong and in our guiding principle of “one country, two systems”.

During this visit, I also met officials from the US Department of State. I did raise the issue of public concern over the recent report released by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) suggesting that Hong Kong’s unique customs status be changed. In response to my question, the State Department clearly explained that the USCC report was by no means an official report released by the department.

US ‘pursues trade cooperation’ with Hong Kong despite report urging rethink

Indeed, I didn’t hear of any statement made by the State Department that it would change our special customs status. Rather, with around 1,300 US companies in Hong Kong, the bilateral trade relationship is of crucial importance to both sides, and Hong Kong’s unique customs status under “one country two systems” is, I trust, also mutually beneficial.

The response from the US State Department is more than enough to address public concern about the matter, so the opposition camp ought not to carry on with their scaremongering tactics.

During my meeting with State Department officials, they did raise concerns over the disqualifications of Legislative Council candidates, the banning of the Hong Kong National Party and the Victor Mallet incident.

I explained to them the legal rationale behind actions taken by the government, and that advocating Hong Kong independence or harming the territorial integrity of China went against the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle. It was all done in strict accordance with the law, and had nothing to do with political censorship. They responded that they would continue to pay attention to human rights and the protection of freedoms in Hong Kong.

Holden Chow, member of the Legislative Council, DAB