Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that, if Washington adopts measures to punish Hong Kong in the ongoing trade war, the US will also be harmed as the city’s trade and investment environment is mutually beneficial.

Democratic Party Chair and lawmaker Wu Chi-wai said during a Q&A session on Thursday that the consequences for Hong Kong would be serious if the US abolishes its 1992 US-Hong Kong Policy Act that grants the SAR a special status different from China. The special arrangement is only valid if the US believes that Hong Kong is “sufficiently autonomous.”

carrie lam
Carrie Lam. Photo:

He asked if Lam reviewed the potential consequences for Hong Kong, if the US questions the validity of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and considers abolishing the Hong Kong Policy Act.

Lam said in response that Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau has been analysing the situation of the ongoing trade war, and has been speaking to chambers of commerce. She mentioned measures in fields such as exports, mortgages, and bank lending.

“The US government nowadays often acts unilaterally, and we have a lot of opinions on that because we are one of those who support free trade most. We are also a member of the World Trade Organisation,” Lam said. “We will fight, with our reasons, against anything that will affect Hong Kong.”

Wu Chi-wai
Wu Chi-wai. Photo:

“Such trade and investments are mutually beneficial. We do not gain a lot of benefit from the US. We are the economy with the highest trade surplus with the US. Hong Kong has more than 1,300 US companies with regional headquarters, regional offices and local offices.”

Wu was not satisfied with her answer and said the visa rejection incident surrounding Financial Times Asia News Editor Victor Mallet has sparked unprecedented international criticism from the UK, US, the EU and Canada.

Victor Mallet
Victor Mallet. Photo: Paul Yeung/Pool.

“They were concerned that if the implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle in Hong Kong is still the same as its original intention that it protects freedom of expression and freedom of information,” he said.

Lam, who has refused to comment on the visa denial, repeated her earlier answer: “If the US adopts measures to punish Hong Kong or to affect Hong Kong’s trade and investment environment, the US will be harmed as well. We have to defend this mutually beneficial situation.”

Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui asked Lam to explain the reason why Mallet’s visa was rejected.

Lam said it was within usual practice the reason would not be revealed. She said the Immigration Department will make decisions independently in accordance with the law.

She also cited pro-Beijing newspapers as saying that foreign countries also denied entry to some journalists.

HKFP has reached out to the US consulate for comment.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.