Hong Kong port vulnerable to US-China trade spat

OOCL loading container

Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau warned that 49% of Chinese products going to America through Hong Kong fall under the US-list of tariffed goods.

“The other way round on America’s export to China via Hong Kong, a list worth US$60bn is now being imposed as a counter measure. That would constitute about 70% of such goods coming from the US via Hong Kong to the Mainland.”

Over the past ten years or more the Port of Hong Kong has rapidly evolved into a major transhipment port with as much as 70% of cargo falling into that category, making it particularly vulnerable in the current trade environment between the US and China.

Mr Yau highlighted the current volatility in the trade war between the two countries where there remains the possibility of escalation.

“I think it is not just the percentage or the amount. I think what worries the trade is in fact whether this is “that’s all”, or would there be any topping up again and again. The originally proposed 25% is now down to 10%, but still hanging in the air is that whether the 25% will be kicking in by early next year, if not earlier.

“These are the difficulties and that is why the uncertainty is still prevailing. Therefore, measures that we are proposing, for instance, the increasing export insurance for SMEs is so important. And that is why we are stepping up measures as outlined just now.”

Asked to identify the sectors that are falling victim to the trade war, Mr Yau replied:

“If you look at the list with almost 6,000 items, it basically covers a wide spectrum of products and trade. It involves not just products entirely produced in the Mainland, as in this supply chain situation, this would involve products, which are made in various places, some might be assembled in the Mainland. We are talking about a very extensive list, it is hard to pin down on a specific industry, particularly with such a widespread coverage of it.”

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