Washington DC, Jul 14 (efe-epa).- The United States’ president announced on Tuesday that he has signed an order to end preferential economic and commercial treatment for Hong Kong.
Donald Trump also signed legislation that will impose new sanctions on those who crack down on rights in the semi-autonomous city.
“Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China,” Trump said at a press conference in the White House’s Rose Garden. “No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies.”
“In addition to that, as you know, we are placing massive tariffs and have placed very large tariffs on China,” he added.
The move is part of Washington’s retaliation for Beijing passing the contentious Hong Kong national security law, which Trump sees as oppression of the former British colony that enjoys freedoms not seen on mainland China.
Trump’s decree is one step further from his announcement in May, when the president ordered his government to minimize preferential treatment for Hong Kong, a status that contributed to the special administrative region becoming a global financial center over the last two decades.
On Tuesday he said he now has “powerful new tools to hold responsible the individuals in the entities involved in extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom.”
He was referring to his signing into law the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, recently approved by Congress and which allows the Trump administration to impose sanctions against “foreign persons, entities, and financial institutions that contribute to China’s actions to remove autonomy from Hong Kong.”
“Their freedom has been taken away, their rights have been taken away and with it goes Hong Kong in my opinion, because it will no longer be able to compete with free markets,” he said.
“A lot of people will be leaving Hong Kong, I suspect, and we are going to do a lot more business because of it because we just lost one competitor.”
Trump’s announcement came hours after China sanctioned on the US-based arms company Lockheed Martin over a Taiwan arms deal amid the US’ escalating tensions with Beijing over Hong Kong, the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues. EFE-EPA