Washington — On Monday, the Trump administration imposed new restrictions on US defense equipment and certain high-tech products exported to Hong Kong in response to new Chinese laws aimed at strengthening Beijing’s control of Hong Kong’s territory.
The US government determined in late May that under Chinese rule, Hong Kong would no longer have significant autonomy, and promised that if Beijing continues to crack down on Hong Kong’s civil liberties, it will deprive Hong Kong of its privileged status in the United States.
The U.S. State Department said in a separate statement on Monday that it would end the export of U.S. military equipment to Hong Kong, while the Ministry of Commerce said that Hong Kong would now be subject to the same types of controls on certain technology exports applicable to China. These control measures have prevented US companies from selling certain types of sensitive high-tech products that may threaten national security against China, Russia, and other countries deemed to be at risk.
Given the small volume of trade between the United States and Hong Kong, the impact of the new restrictions announced on Monday seems relatively limited. In 2018, Hong Kong accounted for only 2.2% of US exports, of which defense and high-tech products accounted for a small portion.
But the export restrictions announced on Monday may have a greater impact on some multinational companies, including multinational companies, which will now be prohibited from sending products or sharing certain high-tech information with the country. Some multinational companies that choose to use Hong Kong as a base for doing business with China have begun to consider moving to other regions, including Singapore.
Trump administration He has said that he will terminate the extradition treaty with Hong Kong due to China’s new security law and reduce other commercial relations. It said it would cancel visas for thousands of Chinese graduate students and researchers associated with the Chinese military, and threatened to impose sanctions on Chinese government officials and financial institutions involved in promulgating security laws.
But the Trump administration has not adopted broader financial sanctions, which may adversely affect Chinese companies and Sino-US economic relations, including President Trump’s first-stage trade agreement.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that China’s new security laws undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and increase the risk of transferring sophisticated American technology to Chinese military or security forces.
Mr. Rose said, “Actions are being evaluated to further eliminate differential treatment in Hong Kong.”
He added: “We urge Beijing to change direction immediately and fulfill its commitments to Hong Kong and the people of the world.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in another statement: “We are unhappy to take this action. “But given that Beijing now regards Hong Kong as “one country, one system”, we must do the same. “
Stopping US high-tech exports to Hong Kong is not a new idea because some American security experts have warned for years that China may be buying products through Hong Kong to obtain military products that are prohibited from being sold directly to mainland China. However, the Director of the Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development Bureau Edward Yau said in an interview with his Hong Kong office last year that Hong Kong exercises very strict controls on the re-export of any high-tech products, and the re-export of high-tech products is subject to US export control restrictions. United States or any other country.
Mr. Yau said at the time that the Hong Kong government strongly opposed any moves by the United States to impose export controls on Hong Kong, and said that Hong Kong maintained an independent system with the mainland in many respects and maintained a history of close cooperation with the United States. United States.
Keith Bradsher contributed reporting in Beijing.