HK markets remain normal after bills passed by US Congress: official

HK bill.jpg

Photo taken on Sept. 27, 2019 shows a night view near Central area in Hong Kong, south China. (File photo: Xinhua)

HONG KONG, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Financial Secretary of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government Paul Chan said Sunday that the financial markets remained normal after the passage of Hong Kong-related bills by the U.S. Congress.

Local financial markets reacted calmly and operated normally, Chan said in an online article, citing a firm Hong Kong dollar, stable interest rates, and no signs of massive capital flight.

Chan said the HKSAR government will closely monitor and assess the situation.

The U.S. Congress passed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 and another Hong Kong-related bill earlier this week.

Chan urged the United States to be cautious and avoid to harm the interests of both sides. "The bills are unwarranted and the United States should not interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong."

The United States has enormous economic interests in Hong Kong as it has in the past 10 years earned the largest worldwide bilateral trade surplus in trade with Hong Kong and more than 1,300 U.S. firms operate here, Chan said.

However, Hong Kong has become less reliant on economic ties with the United States.

With the rapid development in Asia, the mainland has become Hong Kong's largest trading partner, and the United States, in the fourth place, accounted for only 6.6 percent of Hong Kong's foreign goods trade in 2018, Chan said.

Chan expects Hong Kong's closer economic ties with the mainland to generate new opportunities.

The two sides signed on Thursday an agreement on the liberalization and facilitation of trade in services to lower the mainland market access thresholds for Hong Kong enterprises and professionals.

The agreement covers Hong Kong's advantageous sectors including financial services, legal services, construction and related engineering services, testing and certification, television, motion pictures, and tourism services, Chan said.

Chan also noted that recent violent incidents posed a more serious threat to the local economy than external factors.

Major roads were repeatedly blocked, and shops were trashed. Residents were fatally attacked. A wide range of sectors including retail, catering, and tourism bore the major brunt.

Chan warned that Hong Kong's core competitiveness will be harmed and global investors will lose confidence in Hong Kong if the unrest continues, calling on Hong Kong residents to jointly support stopping violence and protect the future of Hong Kong.