In a televised interview on Thursday on Hong Kong, US President Donald Trump claimed that Hong Kong will "fail" without the benefit of the special status that allowed Hong Kong to enjoy lower trade tariffs and a separate customs framework in its dealings with the United States.
Photo taken on July 1, 2020 shows the Golden Bauhinia Square after a flag-raising ceremony held by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland in Hong Kong. (Photo: Xinhua)
Although the US leader has previously condescendingly claimed that the Chinese mainland's success is thanks to US largesse, this is the first time that unwarranted notion has been applied to the special administrative region.
The Hong Kong markets will "go to hell", he said, without the "very expensive incentives" granted it by the US. "Very few people are going to do business in Hong Kong anymore," he predicted.
He even took it a step further this time alleging that Hong Kong was the beneficiary of "billions and billions and billions of dollars" that had been given to it not only to "make it work", but also "to keep a certain amount of freedom over there, knowing that they have China looming over the top of them".
That offers some food for thought, especially since he acknowledged that Hong Kong is owned by China — it is natural to ask what exactly he meant by that.
The president also alleged that Hong Kong will never succeed with China running it, something contrary to the evidence. Many US financial, legal, and accounting businesses have a presence in Hong Kong. In all, more than 1,300 US companies are based there. As such, the US will unavoidably suffer from both the chaos it has championed, which has roiled the SAR since June last year, miring it in the worst economic recession in a decade, and the so-called pulling back of US investment, as both are politically driven, rather than the consequence of normal market activities.
As the US-China Business Council's latest survey shows, most US enterprises doing business with and in China remain optimistic about the prospects of the Chinese market. With further opening-up of the world's second-largest economy, Hong Kong's role as a financial and logistics hub between the Chinese mainland and the world can only become more prominent.
And Hong Kong will not easily lose its status as an independent customs territory, which is recognized by the World Trade Organization and cannot be arbitrarily abolished by the US.
That being said, it is not Hong Kong that will "go to bad", but the US investment that is being forced to leave it.