Press Releases in Hong Kong

HKSAR govt fires first salvo in trade tiff with US over exports

Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah addresses a symposium entitled "Hong Kong: Your Greater Bay Area Partner in Expanding Your Global Business" via video in Hong Kong, March 1, 2021. (PHOTO / INFORMATION SERVICES DEPARTMENT, HKSAR GOVT)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government has filed its first formal submission at the World Trade Organization against the US’ decision in August that required the city to relabel exports to that country as being from China, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said Wednesday.

In a reply to a query at the Legislative Council, Yau said Hong Kong filed its first written submission on May 28  to a WTO panel formed in February to consider the dispute.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said Hong Kong filed its first written submission on May 28 to a WTO panel formed in February to consider the dispute 

Yau said the submission detailed how the US requirement blatantly violated multiple WTO covered agreements, including the Agreement on Rules of Origin, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994. 

“We understand that a WTO panel would in general require six to nine months to consider a dispute and issue its findings. We will continue to participate in the process and we look forward to a fair and reasonable result,” Yau said.

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He said the US decision also discriminates against goods of Hong Kong origin and attempts to weaken Hong Kong's status as a separate customs territory.

Yau previously said the "Made in Hong Kong" marking on Hong Kong products has been accepted internationally for many years and this not only conforms to Hong Kong's status as a separate customs territory and complies with WTO rules, but also provides consumers with clear and accurate information on product origin.  

Yau also said the government was in close contact with the city’s business community, in particular through local chambers of commerce, and members of the Trade and Industry Advisory Board to analyse the impact of the US requirement on Hong Kong's economy and trade and to formulate a response.

He said that the government was also assisting Hong Kong enterprises to develop markets, with Hong Kong signing four free trade agreements (FTAs) with 13 economies, doubling the number of FTAs signed to eight, and increasing significantly the number of economies covered to 20. 

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