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Hong Kong Economic And Trade Office Reassures US Of Long-Term Stability, Commitment To International Business

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Reassures US of Long-Term Stability, Commitment to International Business

Dear friends of Hong Kong,

I hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe, well and healthy.

If you have been following news about Hong Kong, you would have read about the introduction of the national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong).

The National People’s Congress (NPC), the highest organ of state power in the People’s Republic of China, has passed the Decision on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong to safeguard national security.

The Decision to authorize the NPC Standing Committee to prepare and enact the law is part of a two-step legislative process. The NPC Standing Committee has to prepare the legislation based on clearly stated objectives and basic principles. The principles include firmly safeguarding national security, bettering the system of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, governing Hong Kong in strict accordance with the law, resisting external interferences in Hong Kong’s affairs and upholding the legal rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people.

The proposed law only targets acts of secession, subverting state power, organizing and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as activities interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs by foreign or external forces. Nothing in the proposed national security law will jeopardize the “One Country, Two Systems” principle or erode the institutions that underpin Hong Kong’s success as an international city, including the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a clean civil service, the freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the free flow of information, the free flow of capital and freely convertible Hong Kong dollar, free and open trade and freedom of movement of people.

Hong Kong’s special status has been recognized multilaterally, throughout the world, through our multilateral trading relations as well as our membership and participation in international organizations. It has worked well for Hong Kong as well as for the many overseas businesses established in Hong Kong.

In exercising our high degree of autonomy under “One Country Two Systems” as provided under the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Government has always been resolutely committed to upholding its international responsibilities and agreements with the US and all countries in areas such as trade, investment protection, mutual legal assistance, the fight against transnational crime and terrorism, as well as education and cultural exchanges. It is relevant to note that many of these bilateral co-operations are underpinned by multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Civil Aviation Organization, etc. or bilateral agreements negotiated over the years such as the Tax Information Exchange Agreement or Air Services Agreement. As a founding member of the WTO, and an active participant in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), Hong Kong remains committed to the global rules-based, multi-lateral trading system. We will always maintain a level playing field and nationality neutral policy for business.

Coupled with our business-friendly policies, low taxes, world-class infrastructure, free port status, strategic location, well-educated workforce and market potential, Hong Kong remains a location of choice for international business in Asia. More than 9 000 Mainland and overseas companies have regional operations in Hong Kong, including 1 300 US corporations.

In relation to the US, Hong Kong has a long history of mutually beneficial co-operation not just in areas of trade, business and investment but also in areas of international importance such as the fight against trans-national organized crime, money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorist financing and smuggling.

More than 85 000 US citizens live and work in Hong Kong and there are very deep and broad people-to-people bonds in areas such as education, arts and culture. It is in the interests of both the US and Hong Kong for these links to continue to thrive and deepen.

In the past decade, the US’s trade surplus with Hong Kong has been the biggest among all its trading partners, totaling around US$300 billion from 2009 to 2018. Hong Kong was US’s third-largest market for wine exports and fourth-largest market for beef and beef products. US exports of goods and services to Hong Kong as well as Hong Kong’s direct investment in the US supported some 210 000 jobs in the US. In addition, US’s service industries, particularly the financial and professional services sectors, are also having substantial interests in Hong Kong.

Safety and stability of an economy are key to provide certainty and confidence for international businesses in making decisions on where to invest, work and live. However, violent social unrest over the past year – which has resurfaced again recently – has had a severe impact on business and investor confidence and adversely affected the bottom line of businesses. The national security law will ensure that Hong Kong does not become a base for subversion and instability, but rather a safe, stable and welcoming city for people from all over the world.

Hong Kong is and will remain a free, cosmopolitan, open and welcoming city under the rule of law. The long-term stability and prosperity of this vibrant international metropolis under the unique and well-tried “One Country Two Systems” will be assured.

When we are all safe to travel, we are ready to welcome you to our city. Meanwhile, here in the US, our office remains dedicated to strengthening and broadening Hong Kong’s relations with the US, and we rely on your continuous support.

Best regards,
Ivanhoe Chang
Director, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco

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