Commerce Secretary urges U.S. to reconsider Act targeting HK economic and trade offices

Algernon Yau

2nd December 2023 – (Hong Kong) Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Algernon Yau Ying-wah, has strongly criticised the United States for passing an act that specifically targets three Hong Kong economic and trade offices within its territory. Yau called on the American side to refrain from making decisions that harm the interests of both parties.

In a radio interview on Saturday, Yau stated that the accusations levelled by the U.S. were unfounded and did not align with the facts. He emphasized that all 14 economic and trade offices worldwide have consistently adhered to regulations and maintained open lines of communication with local governments and organizations.

Yau vehemently rejected the false accusations against the Hong Kong offices, deeming them unacceptable. He also highlighted the significant trade surplus the U.S. has enjoyed, amounting to over US$280 billion, during the past decade of trading with the Special Administrative Region (SAR). Additionally, he noted that there are currently around 1,200 American businesses operating in Hong Kong.

Yau cautioned that if the situation deteriorates further, it will result in the loss of an official communication channel between the two governments. While other civil and commercial organisations can still function, he stressed that the absence of an official channel would be far from ideal. Therefore, Yau called upon the U.S. to reconsider its actions and make wise decisions that preserve the interests of both sides.

When queried about the recent increase in Hongkongers travelling to northern regions, Yau regarded it as a natural phenomenon. He underscored that the key concern is how to stimulate spending among the approximately 7 million residents who remain in Hong Kong.

Yau mentioned that the government has implemented various initiatives to boost local spending, such as the Night Vibes Hong Kong campaign and the Wine and Dine Festival, which have proven effective. He assured that these campaigns will continue in the future, and he encouraged all sectors of society to contribute their ideas for further enhancement.