U.S. Statement at the Trade Policy of Hong Kong, China

Statement by Christopher Wilson,
Deputy Chief of Mission

Geneva,
November 19, 2019

– As Prepared for Delivery –

Thank you, Chair.  On behalf of the United States, I am pleased to participate in the 7th Trade Policy Review of Hong Kong, China.  We appreciate Hong Kong China’s active participation in this review, as well as its informative report.  We also appreciate the Secretariat’s report, which provided a detailed review of the developments in Hong Kong’s economic and trade policies since its last review.

The United States recognizes Hong Kong, China’s rich history as a trade and finance hub and values the vibrant and dynamic local culture that stems from its diversity.  The Hong Kong, China region has been an active international mercantile center since the 9th century for traders and missionaries, serving as a location of cultural and economic exchange between China and the rest of the world.

As one of the most market-oriented and open economies, Hong Kong, China continues to be a proponent of free-market principles and, as a result, its liberalized policies serve as a model trade and investment regime.  Hong Kong, China’s economy has maintained solid growth since its last review, with a GDP growth rate of 1.5 percent in 2012, followed by 2.9 percent in 2013.

The United States has long been an important trading partner of Hong Kong, China, and we look forward to continuing this productive and dynamic relationship.  Bilateral goods trade between the United States and Hong Kong, China totaled $48 billion in 2013, almost a 12 percent increase from 2012.  U.S. services trade with Hong Kong, China totaled $16.3 billion in 2013, up nearly 20 percent from 2012.  U.S. foreign direct investment (stock) in Hong Kong, China was $58.8 billion in 2013, a seven percent increase from 2012.

We appreciate Hong Kong, China’s constructive efforts to support the WTO as a multilateral trading system, including its commitment to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement and participate in plurilateral initiatives.  We further appreciate Hong Kong, China’s efforts to ensure minimal restrictions on foreign capital flows and investment, and we want to encourage the government of Hong Kong, China to continue to minimize barriers to trade in goods and services.  We applaud Hong Kong, China’s adoption of its first comprehensive competition law in 2012, which will support market competition in multiple sectors, including telecommunications, as well as promoting public understanding of the value of competition.

The United States commends Hong Kong, China on its robust intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement, including its actions to improve public awareness and enforcement of IPRs.  We appreciate Hong Kong, China’s continued efforts to seize cross-border IPR infringing products, including electronic goods, pharmaceuticals, luxury goods, and other products.  We welcome indications that Hong Kong, China intends to take further proactive steps to address new global IPR enforcement challenges in the digital environment, and would encourage the Government of Hong Kong, China to devote greater focus to combating online copyright piracy.  To this end, we strongly support Hong Kong, China’s ongoing efforts to modernize its IPR framework through legislation.

The United States welcomes Hong Kong, China’s announcement in 2014 that it would provide full market access for U.S. beef.  In 2013, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) granted the United States  the lowest risk status (negligible risk) for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), affirming the safety of U.S. beef.  We applaud Hong Kong, China’s efforts to bring its policy into full compliance with international standards.

Regarding Hong Kong, China’s efforts to address food safety concerns, we understand that Hong Kong government’s draft Code of Marketing and Quality of Formula Milk and Related Products and Food Products for Infants & Young Children, once adopted, would impose a ban on marketing of all infant formula and non-formula complementary food products intended for Hong Kong-based infants and young children up to 36 months of age.  We note that this draft Code may be more restrictive than relevant international standards, and submitted advance written questions on this issue.  We appreciate Hong Kong, China’s response to our questions.

The United States shares Hong Kong, China’s strong support for the multilateral trading system.  We recognize that Hong Kong, China is an open economy and a strong proponent of free trade, and the United States shares a strong interest in Hong Kong, China’s continued growth and prosperity.  We therefore hope that this Trade Policy Review will help Hong Kong, China build further upon its strong record of contributions to the world trading system.  We look forward to continued work with Hong Kong, China, and other WTO Members, to strengthen and promote the multilateral trading system.

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