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            october 23, 2019

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Busworld 2019

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HK delegation heads to Washington to protect special trade status


The inaugural direct flight to Washington operated by Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific had a special delegation comprising members of major local chambers of commerce on board. They included representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce and the city's top official in charge of trade, Edward Yau Tang-wah.
The secretary for commerce and economic joined the delegation to convince the US to maintain Hong Kong's special status and "thus spare the city from possible collateral damage stemming from the trade war" between China and the US, according to a SCMP opinion piece by columnist and editor-in-chief Tammy Tam.
Mr Yau's agenda includes talks to ensure the US keeps its promise to deal with post-1997 Hong Kong separately from mainland China in terms of trade and economic matters.
"This seeming non-issue has all of a sudden become something," Mr Yau said, and "even Beijing, cannot ignore due to calls for independence in the city," the opinion piece said.
Mr Yau's arrival in Washington coincides with the latest round of US tariffs against China taking effect: a further 10 per cent, followed by an increase to 25 on January 1, 2019.
The opinion piece continued: "Earlier, when local independence advocate Andy Chan Ho-tin wrote to the US State Department urging Washington to abolish its special treatment of the city under the Hong Kong Policy Act, claiming democracy here was under threat, Mr Yau's office immediately rebutted the accusation.
"And the top American envoy to the city, Kurt Tong, dismissed any foreseeable policy change by hailing Hong Kong-US relations as "very good".
"Mr Tong's remarks were no doubt encouraging to Mr Yau in particular, and Mr Chan may not have realised he had unwittingly done the commerce chief a favour by triggering the US diplomat's open support for Hong Kong.
"However, for Mr Yau and the delegation, the real test is to come in the following days. It is not as simple as issuing a statement to condemn Mr Chan, but to explain in a convincing way the complexity of Hong Kong's current political and economic scenario, thereby highlighting the city's unique differences from the mainland.
"In short, it's all about how to protect Hong Kong's interests to the maximum without impacting the country's strategy as a whole, while Beijing is contemplating its next step," the opinion piece concluded.

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