The US Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said on Saturday that it was "a sad day" for the global financial center hours after US President Donald Trump deprived the city of special treatment to punish China.
In some of his harshest rhetoric to date, Trump said Beijing broke his word about Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy by proposing new national security laws and no longer justifying the US's economic privileges on the territory.
"We will take measures to remove Hong Kong's preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel area from the rest of China," Trump said, adding that Washington would also impose sanctions on those responsible for the "suffocation – absolutely suffocation – of Hong Kong's freedom." . " . "
Trump told White House reporters that China's move to Hong Kong was a tragedy for the world, but didn't give a move schedule and made Hong Kong residents, businesses, and officials think about how far his government would go.
"This is an emotional moment for Americans in Hong Kong and it will take some time for businesses and families to digest the consequences," said AmCham President Tara Joseph in a statement.
"Many of us … have close relationships with this city and with the people of Hong Kong. We love Hong Kong and it's a sad day," she said, adding that the chamber would continue to work with its members on status Maintaining Hong Kong as Vital The Chinese Parliament approved a decision this week to create laws for Hong Kong to contain turmoil, secession, terrorism, and outside interference.
Mainland security and intelligence agents may be stationed in the city for the first time – critics say they jeopardize the city's far-reaching freedoms. The authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong insist that the legislation targets only a small number of "troublemakers" that threaten China's national security.
They say that such measures are urgently needed after months of sometimes violent protests against the government shook the city last year. The movements of the protests are boiling again when Hong Kong emerges from the shutdown of the corona virus.
Protesters are expected to take to the streets on Sunday.
Trump did not specify sanctions targets, but said the announcement would "affect the full range of Hong Kong agreements," including the US-Hong Kong extradition agreement to export controls for dual-use technology and more "with few exceptions."
China's Global Times, published by the People & # 39; s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, said Trump's decision was a "ruthlessly arbitrary" move. The Hong Kong government – which has long been working with U.S. counterparts is different from Beijing – has yet to respond, although it warned on Thursday that the move could be a double-edged sword. More than 1,300 US companies have offices in Hong Kong and offer around 100,000 jobs.
Over the past decade, the U.S. trade surplus with Hong Kong was the largest of all trading partners, totaling $ 297 billion from 2009 to 2018. Washington has also quietly worked with Hong Kong in the fight against terrorism and money laundering, as well as with the United States. Envoys have long appreciated Hong Kong's separate membership in some major international business organizations. "Hong Kong is an articulate advocate of free markets and an effective advocate of free markets and trade barriers," an information sheet on the US Consulate website said.
Britain is ready to offer nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents extended visas and a route to citizenship to respond to China's efforts to introduce national security laws in the former British colony.