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Sanctions on Hong Kong will only backfire: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2020-06-07 19:45
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A panoramic view of the financial area in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua]

Even though it is none of its business, Washington has announced its plans to impose trade sanctions on Hong Kong because China's top legislature has announced it will draw up national security legislation for the special administrative region.

Should the US carry out its threat to revoke Hong Kong's "preferential" treatment as a separate customs and travel territory, it will only end up eating the bitter fruit of its blatant meddling in China's internal affairs.

As a world financial, trade and shipping center, Hong Kong occupies a special niche in the global economic landscape. Its status as a separate customs territory has a legal basis in World Trade Organization agreements. It was not granted by any specific WTO member, and neither can it be unilaterally revoked by a specific country.

Washington has a huge economic interest in Hong Kong as the city has long contributed the biggest trade surplus to the US. Every year, the US garners nearly $30 billion on average from its trade with Hong Kong.

Some 85,000 Americans live in Hong Kong, and more than 1,300 US companies operate in this international city. Statistics show US exports of goods and services to Hong Kong, along with its direct investments here, support an estimated 210,000 jobs in the US.

Hence, should the US revoke Hong Kong's separate customs status, US companies and many workers will pay a heavy price.

The US plan will embolden rioters in the city to go even further along the road of violence. Our memory is still fresh that during months of social unrest last year, rioters besieged government and legislative buildings, paralyzed public transport, trashed banks and stores and assaulted innocent residents, plunging Hong Kong into chaos and deep economic recession.

The lawless deeds of Hong Kong rioters have not only tarnished Hong Kong's image as a world financial center but also violated the rights and interests of all Hong Kong residents, including those of foreigners living in the city.

Stability is the foundation and prerequisite for cultivating a prosperous business environment. The planned legislation for the SAR is actually a strong safeguard for Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity.

The US should know its planned trade sanctions over Hong Kong will have limited consequences except on its own companies for it will not bring much disruption to the city's economy or residents' livelihoods. Each year, goods manufactured in Hong Kong and exported to the US accounts for less than 2 percent of the city's manufacturing industry.

With the mainland as its strong backup and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development gaining momentum, Hong Kong is fully confident and prepared to resist any US sanctions.

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