US Senate bill targeting HKSAR trade offices likely to face strong resistance from US business communities: experts
Published: Feb 17, 2023 10:43 PM
The night view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

The night view of Hong Kong File Photo: VCG

Two US senators introduced a bill on Thursday that seeks to close the representative offices of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the US. Experts say that this move demonstrates the US' ongoing interference in China's internal affairs, and it is expected to face strong resistance from American business communities.

The bill, introduced by US senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Merkley, demanded a reevaluation of a series of privileges enjoyed by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (HKETOs) in the US and made unwarranted attacks against the national security law for Hong Kong.

The legislation would require the US president to certify whether HKETOs in the US should retain or lose their diplomatic privileges. HKETOs would have to terminate their operations in the US within six months if the president decided they did not merit their diplomatic immunities, according to a press release published by Marco Rubio's office.

The move shows the US' continued interference in China's internal affairs and is part of their global meddling in other countries' internal affairs, Li Yong, senior fellow at the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Friday.

"It also reflects a morbid sensitivity to China among some extreme politicians in the US. Their prejudice on everything related to China is almost paranoia," Li said.

The three HKETOs in the US - located in Washington, New York and San Francisco - are representatives of the government of the HKSAR. Their mission is to strengthen the economic, trade, investment and cultural ties between Hong Kong and the US, according to an introduction on the HKETO website.

"Some extreme politicians in the US have deliberately distorted facts and amplified various so-called threats. Their ulterior motive is to dismantle and block the various channels of exchanges and communications between China and the US," Li said.

It is hard to say whether the legislation would be passed or not, He Weiwen, a former senior trade official and an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

"The US has a lot of corporate and commercial interests in Hong Kong. If the US revokes the privileges enjoyed by the HKETOs in the US, the Hong Kong SAR could also launch retaliatory moves, which will bring losses that the US may not be able to afford," He said.