China to back Hong Kong in maintaining tariff zone
Beijing will support Hong Kong in maintaining its separate tariff zone and oppose external forces intervening in Hong Kong’s affairs, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.
“China will support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in maintaining its separate tariff zone, and consolidating and enhancing its position as an international financial, trade, and shipping center,” the spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce Gao Feng responded to Trump’s threat to end special trade status for Hong Kong.
“The central government will always back Hong Kong’s prosperity and development,” he cited.
US President Donald Trump announced last week that he planed to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China. Gao said the legal foundation for Hong Kong’s separate tariff zone is covered by a World Trade Organization agreement. It was agreed on by the Chinese government and affirmed by the Basic Law.
“The status was established by the multilateral rule of the WTO, and approved by other members of the organization rather than one particular member,” said Gao, warning that the US is threatening to ignore the basic principles of international relations and take unilateral action.
China will firmly implement the “one country, two systems” principle and oppose external forces intervening in Hong Kong’s affairs, said the spokesperson.
According to Gao, the decision adopted by China’s National People’s Congress to make bational security law for Hong Kong only targets extreme behaviors that endanger the country’s safety.
“It will not affect the high degree of Hong Kong’s autonomy, or Hong Kong residents’ legitimate rights and freedom, or damage foreign investors’ legitimate rights there. Instead, it will benefit China’s business and investment environment, Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, and help the long-term stability of the ‘one country, two systems’ policy,” he added.
The national security law will close legal loopholes involving national security in Hong Kong and outlaw separatism, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.
A spokesman of China’s banking regulator said separately that Hong Kong’s status as a financial hub will not be shaken by the potential sanctions.
“Hong Kong’s financial market is running smoothly ... and there is no abnormal capital outflow,” said the spokesman, adding that this reflects the international market’s confidence in the city.