SECRETARY for Commerce and Economic
Development Edward Yau says Hong Kong is worried about the worsening
trade row between China and the US given that 17 per cent, or HKD60
billion (US$7.6 billion) worth of Chinese exports in question passed
through the city to the US, and nine per cent, or HKD6 billion, of US
exports were transshipped via the city to mainland China.
"We are worried about the worsening
Sino-US trade dispute and it is a pity to see that the goodwill the two
countries built over the years is being lost," Mr Yau told the SCMP in a
phone interview from Paris, France while on a business tour with Chief
Executive Carrie Lam.
"We fear that the trade war will become an irreversible step as each side only cares about its own interests," he said.
Hong Kong also faced an "unquantifiable impact from the spillover" of
the dispute between the US and Europe, which could lead to trade being
diverted from Hong Kong, he said.
Beijing and Washington are ensnared in a tit-for-tat trade row, with
China on June 19 vowing to use quantitative and qualitative measures to
retaliate if US President Donald Trump's threat to impose a 10 per cent
punitive tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products went into
Following Mr Trump's announcement on June 15 to impose 25 per cent
tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, Beijing responded by
publishing a list of US products - ranging from soybeans to cars - that
it would subject to retaliatory measures of the "same scale and
intensity." Beijing calculated that the value of US product imports last
year was $154 billion.
"Hong Kong can withstand the tariff tsunami if it continues to develop
its regional relationships and Greater Bay Area and advancing on IT
development," said American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong president
Tara Joseph, referring to Beijing's plan to develop Hong Kong, Macau and
nine cities in Guangdong into a new economic zone and IT-led powerhouse
rivalling Silicon Valley in the US.
According to the Hong Kong government's trade figures, Asean became the
city's second largest trade partner after mainland China last year in
total trade. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an economic
bloc comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines,
Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Federation of Hong Kong Industries chairman Jimmy Kwok said Hong Kong
companies in the re-export and transshipment business would be hit
"The trade war has spread to food such as meat and fish, which to some extent will put them in trouble," Mr Kwok said.