Both the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong on Thursday strongly condemned the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee for passing the so-called Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act, urging the U.S. to stop meddling Hong Kong affairs.
The U.S. on Wednesday passed the legislation targeting Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs), which "would require the White House to 'remove the extension of certain privileges, exemptions and immunities' to the offices," according to a report by the South China Morning Post on Thursday.
The HKSAR said that that act is factually wrong. The act aims to achieve political objectives by smearing and attacking the work of the Hong Kong ETOs in the U.S. on promoting mutually beneficial economic and trade relations and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and the U.S., and by misleadingly promoting the removal of those privileges, exemptions and immunities and even the closure of the ETOs.
The HKSAR government strongly condemned any attempts to damage bilateral trade relations out of individuals' political interests, and sternly urged the U.S. not to violate the basic norms governing international relations and to stop political smears and attacks against the HKSAR and interfering in Hong Kong matters.
The smooth operation of the three ETOs in Washington, New York and San Francisco in the U.S. contributes to strengthening cooperation between Hong Kong and the U.S. in different areas such as trade, investment, arts and culture, and is mutually beneficial to both places, the HKSAR government said.
In fact, the U.S. has enjoyed a significant economic dividend through trade ties with Hong Kong, holding a trade surplus of $284.9 billion with Hong Kong in the past 10 years, the largest among its global trading partners.
If the U.S. insists on undermining the mutually beneficial relations through legislation like the act, it will ultimately harm the interests of the U.S. and its companies, read the statement.
In response to the U.S. intervention in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs, the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong on Thursday expressed strong condemnation and resolute opposition, urging the U.S. to immediately stop pushing forward the relevant bill.
At present, more than 1,200 U.S. enterprises have invested and operated businesses in Hong Kong, and almost all major U.S. financial institutions are operating in Hong Kong. The U.S. business sector continues to be optimistic about the prospects of Hong Kong's growth and the opportunities in the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. However, a small number of U.S. politicians are politicizing and instrumentalizing economic and trade issues. What they are doing is against the people's will, and is destined to fail, the Commissioner's office said.
China will not sit idly by while the U.S. concocts bills related to Hong Kong, which are detrimental to Hong Kong and interfere in China's internal affairs, and will resolutely defend its own rights and interests. The U.S. is urged to return to the right path of promoting mutual trust and cooperation between China and the U.S. through practical actions, and give up intention of suppressing China and "curbing China with Hong Kong," the office stated.