HK demands US revoke 'made in China' order on exports, threatens WTO challenge

Local | 16 Sep 2020 5:20 pm

Hong Kong has demanded that the United States immediately withdraw the unilateral order to label locally-made goods as 'Made in China,' saying the city will defend its interests at tthe World Trade Organization.

The US order was to become effective on Friday, September 25, but was delayed until November 9.

The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau, said today Hong Kong has made strong objections to the requirement announced on August 11.

“The US' unilateral and irresponsible attempt to weaken Hong Kong's status as a separate customs territory is highly inappropriate. Such a move also confuses the market and undermines the rules-based multilateral trading system. We will robustly advance our arguments to defend Hong Kong's interests."

Yau said he met the Acting US Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau, Paul Horowitz and asked the diplomat to deliver his letter to the US Trade Representative, Robert Lightheizer, expressing Hong Kong's position that it strongly objects to the US' new requirement and requested that the requirement be immediately withdrawn.
Also today, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices in Washington, DC, and Geneva forwarded copies of Yau's letter to the Office of the US Trade Representative and the Custom and Border Protection in Washington, DC, and to the Permanent Mission of the US to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva respectively.

The ETOs will also arrange discussions with relevant US authorities, the government said.

“As a responsible WTO member, Hong Kong always abides by WTO rules. The action taken by the HKSAR Government today is in accordance with the spirit and practices of the WTO. It is an important step before taking action against the US under the WTO framework with a view to resolving the matter first at a bilateral level,'' Yau said.

“We will continue to follow up on the matter depending on the US' response. If the US refuses to withdraw the requirement and bilateral discussions fail to reach satisfactory outcomes, the HKSAR Government will take action against the US in accordance with the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism to safeguard Hong Kong's interests under WTO rules."

On July 15, US President Donald Trump ended Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law, saying “Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China.''

Trump said: “No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies.''

On August 11, the United States said that 45 days after the order is published, goods “must be marked to indicate that their origin is ‘China.'''

The US said it determined that Hong Kong is “no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment in relation to China.''-The Standard






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