Hong Kong

Trump Says U.S. Will End Special Trade, Immigration Deals With Hong Kong

President Donald Trump announced a significant escalation of his administration's conflict with the Chinese government—a conflict that is increasingly looking less like a trade war and more like a cold war.

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President Donald Trump on Friday announced a significant escalation of his administration's conflict with the Chinese government—a conflict that is increasingly looking less like a trade war and more like a cold war.

In a press conference, Trump announced that the U.S. would end its special relationship with Hong Kong—since Hong Kong rejoined China in 1997, the U.S. has maintained separate trade, customs, and immigration agreements with the city than it has with the rest of China. The move effectively cements China's control over Hong Kong and jeopardizes billions of dollars of annual trade.

"Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory," Trump said outside the White House. "My announcement today will affect the full range of agreements we have with Hong Kong," including extradition and export rules.

More than 1,300 American companies have business operations in Hong Kong, and there are more than 85,000 U.S. citizens living in Hong Kong, according to a Reuters analysis. Terminating the city's special status means the much stricter Chinese visa and travel rules will likely apply to Americans who travel there (more on that should be released in the coming days).

Hong Kong could also lose its special preferential status for trade, which would be a major blow on both sides of the Pacific. Previously, Hong Kong imported American goods with zero tariffs, and last year the U.S. had a $26 billion trade surplus with the territory. That's all at risk now.

Trump also announced plans to block some Chinese nationals from entering the United States, citing their status as a potential security risk, and promised to sanction Chinese government officials involved in the crackdown on Hong Kong. He officially declared that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO), which the White House blames for not responding quickly enough to the COVID-19 pandemic because it has fallen too far into China's orbit.

But the upshot of all this is a major escalation of the U.S.-China conflict that Trump has stoked since taking office—one that will almost certainly trigger a response from the Chinese government.

A strong response to China's takeover of Hong Kong—a takeover that violates the treaty China signed with the United Kingdom in 1984 that was supposed to ensure Hong Kong's autonomy for 50 years after the 1997 handover—is indeed warranted, but if the Trump administration wanted to do something constructive to help the people of Hong Kong, it could offer them visas to the United States. That does not appear to be on the table.

Instead, just months after signing a U.S.-China trade deal that seemed like a face-saving way to deescalate the growing split between the world's two largest economies, Trump on Friday indicated he's ready to once again ramp up his fight with China on several new fronts—with Americans, Hongkongers, and the global economy caught in the crossfire.

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  1. Did Leather Man give you a minimum word count for today’s articles?

    1. Orange man bad.

      3 words is all that is needed.

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      2. @ JesseAz … orange man is bad (IMO) At the same time that don’t mean I think “blue man” is good.

  2. //[B]ut if the Trump administration wanted to do something constructive to help the people of Hong Kong, it could offer them visas to the United States.//

    But, then, how could the United States trade with Hong Kong if all the people of Hong Kong …. are here?

    Boehm is insufferable.

    1. Kramer from the television series, Seinfeld, is a perfect representation of the type of immigrant that libertarians advocate for. A unemployed moocher looking for a quick chat and some Saltine crackers. The caveat for every pro-immigration article should be the ending of the welfare state but you rarely see that in this “libertarian” publication.

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    2. “But, then, how could the United States trade with Hong Kong if all the people of Hong Kong …. are here?”

      It worked pretty well after 1997 when droves of them moved to a Vancouver BC.

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  3. “a conflict that is increasingly looking less like a trade war and more like a cold war.”

    How many Chinese puppet states are we engaged with militarily?

    1. Right now just Twitter and google. Trump is sure to add more targets.

      1. Ooooo! That’s gotta hurt!

    2. China isn’t big on puppet states, they prefer taking places like Tibet over entirely.

  4. He officially declared that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the World Health Organization

    Boehm lets this blockbuster drop without comment, so it’s not entirely clear how he feels about it or how he thinks we should feel about it. I think this is huge, an important—even if only ceremonial—first step in dismantling the globalistic apparatus. The only thing that would make me happier is if Trump announced that the United States was unilaterally withdrawing from the United Nations altogether, effective immediately.

    1. Trump usually just throws hissy fits on Twitter but if he actually gets America out of the adult version of the Student Government Association, I’d be pretty impressed.

    2. Reason seems to prefer global authoritarianism than it does nation state authoritarianism. Kind of the wrong direction to go, but guess that’s what they want.

  5. So the solution is run away with your tail tucked between your legs. Libertarian Koch heads.

    I’ll take the Cold War over kneeling before the fucking Chinese.

    1. I think they prefer bowing…

  6. It’s been a cold war for at least a decade or two. It took long enough for our government to notice.

    1. Nothing new there, then. The Soviets viewed the US as an enemy from the revolution on. Stalin always viewed Roosevelt as a useful idiot while plotting the downfall of the US. Roosevelt on the other hand viewed the USSR as a useful ally. Truman tried to continue that until it became blindingly obvious how wrong that policy was.

  7. Wreaked of: “oops accidentally jumped to the defense of the boys in blue shooting protesters who are mad because cops are choking people out” , or , “ChYna is my refrain and what I use to blame everything on and shiny object please please look away from me telling police to shoot americans mad about cops murdering people”

    And kudos donny for the press conference with the smooth moves dealing with shit you started, by emulating an angry 15 yr old fat kid online:

    – pissed off because inadequate
    – go keyboard warrior and flame people online
    – present yourself to the public, pretend you did nothing wrong, hold up shiny new object hoping everyone will pay attention to it
    – run away before the adults can scold you for being a little whiny internet bitch and holding you to account for what you said

    Garden variety trump supportets on reason could learn a thing or two from this paragon of values. At best, they might be able to taste his drippings, but probably will fall far short of that.

    1. Trump never supported the police who killed Floyd, from the beginning he was directing the DoJ to investigate. Other than being completely wrong, good rant there.

      1. “Garden variety trump supportets on reason could learn a thing or two from this paragon of values. At best, they might be able to taste his drippings, but probably will fall far short of that.”

        Take note. Bending yourself into pretzels to ensure your cult leader doesnt look bad will not help you. It just makes you look sad.

        He clearly is sympathetic to the cops (the actual bad guys) and against the protesters, and when he knew he would be scolded by the meanies in the media, he ran away like a little toddler bitch.

        He isnt a real man, takes no responsibility, and this is the guy you clowns put up as your leader. Sad enough to be trump himself, unable to own up to his own inadequacies as a man and leader…

        Worse to be someone who RUNS to his defense. Sad, man.

        1. He isn’t my cult leader. I didn’t vote for him and probably will vote for Jorgenson this year. I was just pointing out how your post was factually inaccurate, and you doubled down with pure speculation. Good job there.

  8. Red China’s actions vis a vis Hong Kong is just exhibit #29537 on why the United States can never, never, ever trust those communist fuckers. Red China has serially lied. serially cheated, serially stolen our IP for years now. There is no agreement they uphold. Even now with the phase 1 trade deal….are they on track? Nope.

    Taiwan is next. We can and must arm Taiwan to the teeth right now because Red China will invade unless they know the cost in materiel and men will be too great.

    The time has come to build a Great Wall around China, and shut them off. Containment worked against the USSR. It can work here as well. Cut off their access to developed markets and they’ll have a serious problem on their hands. And then be too busy dealing with their own internal problems to create more mischief abroad.

    If we do not act now when we can, then what? Does anyone seriously think a POTUS Biden would do anything to restrain China?

    Eric Boehm…You are an American citizen. Whose fucking side are you on?

    1. Unfortunately, like many libertarians, he thinks capitalism is an ideology. He’s on the side of muh GDP, not on the side of America.
      As an aside, this is why the LP loses so hard every time.

    2. Eric Boehm is a reporter for Reason. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, but will never consider himself a(n) southerner American.

      1. Yeah, maybe. But having a paid gig trolling his readers must be sweet.

      2. Every time I see that I wonder why someone would even say something that insulting. Libertarians for generalizations and tribalism.

    3. Minor detail: the Communist Chinese cannot walk to Taiwan.
      The US just might notice if they start building a gazillion landing craft. Of course, we might notice, and if the fascists keep the house and get the senate, we won’t even bother to look.

      1. Taiwan and Japan would have to also not notice. I doubt either will be okay with that and Japan has effectively decided it no longer needs to remain pacifists.

  9. Any word on how china’s invasion of India is going? Or do we have to wait for dalmia’s article about how the Chinese ar just bring diversity to India?

    1. China would be a fool to invade India. India has been at a near constant state of low level war with Pakistan for 50+ years, has been rapidly modernizing it’s military, replacing aging Soviet equipment with modern Western equipment and Russian equipment. China hasn’t fought a war in nearly the same length of time, and it’s last war was against Vietnam, which pretty much kicked their ass. China has some modernized equipment for Frontline troops but that vast majority of their troops are poorly trained and equipped. They spend far more time doing political indoctrination then in actual combat training. The Indian Navy is pretty modern. In addition to it’s aircraft carrier, they have modern guided missile frigates and destroyers, French and German built diesel subs and an akura class attack sub (plus a ballistic missile sub). The Indian Air Force has 1700+ aircraft, most of which are modern versions of Russian and French fighters. Their pilots have more stick time then Chinese pilots.

      1. Oh and not to mention India has a younger population. Median age in 2019 in China, 38.4 years, median age in India, 28.1.

        1. The advantage China has is about 600,000 more troops.

          1. And possibly Pakistan.

            1. Although, an attack from China could provoke Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam.

  10. A trade surplus with Hong Kong…shows how pathetic Hong Kong’s economy is.

  11. “The move effectively cements China’s control over Hong Kong”

    Yes, TRUMP cemented China’s control over Hong Kong.

    Not China. Trump.

    1. Yeah, I seem to remember didn’t China last week effectively end Hong Kong’s autonomy? But it must be Trump’s fault not Xi’s

    2. I don’t see anyone else rushing to liberate HK or browbeat the Chinese into submitting to the treaty. By walking away Trump hands the country to them, because the only thing that might have prevented this was an immediate deescalation of the trade war.

      I am not saying that would have for sure prevented the moves China is making. They have more pressing matters on their hands; this legal takeover of HK was not instigated by the trade war. But lifting the sanctions WOULD get us back to the table with China, and there Trump could leverage for HK to be left alone. That will not happen now.

      Trump fucked up. Will his fan base care? Probably not.

      1. It seems six of, half a dozen of another. You are stating ending the trade war maybe might make China willing to negotiate not to be tyrants… Seems fairly thin. What color is the sky in your make believe world?

  12. Some might say a 500 billion dollar trade deficit just means we got 500 billion dollars more of their “stuff” than they got of ours.

  13. Any thing in here about the minor detail of the damn treaty that REQUIRES the ‘special relationship’ be certified each year? And that the theory was the annual review would keep the Communist Chinese form doing exactly what they did, because they love the USA so much? And that the FACT is HK cannot be certified at this time?
    I mean, I figure I just missed all the carefully researched background material.

    1. Shut up, Orange Man Bad, Xi good.

      1. The phrase “Orange Man Bad” is racist – – – – – – – – – – – –

  14. This article is naive. Hong Kong is the hub of China’s intelligence operations into the west, and especially the US, because of its special status.

  15. Are you serious? A “strong response” to China’s takeover of Hong Kong consists of handing out visas to the Chinese like free candy according to you???

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