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Indiaexportnews.com

US-China tariff war is unhealthy for Hong Kong's economy and job security

  12.04.2018    

Hong Kong's economy is expected to suffer a blow if Beijing and Washington exchange tit-for-tat trade tariffs.
Finance chief Paul Chan earlier expressed concern that, as a "highly open and small economy," Hong Kong could see one out of five jobs affected since those employed in the city's trade and logistics industries would be hit, not to mention the volatility a trade war would cause in the financial market, said SCMP.
Trade minister Edward Yau has held several rounds of talks with major business groups, including the American Chamber of Commerce, as well as top US envoy to Hong Kong Kurt Tong, trying hard to head off or minimise any negative consequences.
Although the general sentiment seems to be that the direct impact on Hong Kong will not be huge - at least not yet - it raises one issue: can Hong Kong, an independent member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), be treated separately from mainland China in this latest round of highly politicised tariff retaliation?
Not really, although that appears to be the government's hope. It further prompts another question: can Hong Kong convince the United States that the collateral damage to a city under "one country, two systems" will also hurt the interests of the many American businesses here?
The city joined the WTO while still under British rule. Armed with this status after the 1997 handover, Hong Kong has helped Beijing lobby for support for fairer trade treatment, especially in convincing the US about the renewal of China's Most-Favoured-Nation status, later renamed Permanent Normal Trade Relations under US President Bill Clinton's administration.
Hong Kong still needs to make both sides better realise its significance. And that is, the city can help show Washington the upside of smooth bilateral trade relations, while US businesses can always enjoy a free and friendly environment here, the report concluded.



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