US begins to eliminate Hong Kong's special status
The United States began eliminating Hong Kong's special status under US law on Monday, halting defence exports and restricting the territory's access to hi-tech products as China prepares new Hong Kong security legislation.
The US move comes as the top decision-making body of China's parliament deliberates a draft national security law for Hong Kong that pro-democracy activists in the city fear will be used to eliminate dissent and tighten Beijing's control.
"The Chinese Communist Party's decision to eviscerate Hong Kong's freedoms has forced the Trump administration to re-evaluate its policies towards the territory," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, President Donald Trump responded to China's plans for the security law by saying he was initiating a process to eliminate special economic treatment that has allowed Hong Kong to remain a global financial centre since its handover by the UK in 1997.
Trump stopped short of calling for an immediate end to privileges, but said the moves would affect the full range of US agreements with Hong Kong, from an extradition treaty to export controls on dual-use technologies and more "with few exceptions".
The Commerce Department said it was suspending "preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export license exceptions", adding that further actions to eliminate Hong Kong's status were being evaluated.
In 2018, $432.7m of goods were shipped to Hong Kong under a Commerce Department ...
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