Legco Viewpoint
Set Aside Differences for Fair Trade

In the face of the U.S.-China trade conflicts triggered by the United States’ Section 301 investigation, President Xi Jinping has insisted on the fundamental national policy of opening-up, noting that “China’s door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider.” Indeed, there is ample room for future cooperation between the U.S. and Mainland China under the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative. As such, the two sides should, for the sake of harmony, resolve their differences through negotiation. The business community in Hong Kong should also seize this opportunity to proactively expand their domestic market.    

Despite the U.S.-China trade deficit, economic and trade cooperation can benefit both countries if they are willing to work hand in hand and effectively utilize each other’s resources. If the U.S. introduces trade barriers due to the trade deficit, it will not only violate the principle of free trade, but will also fail to live up to its commitment to the World Trade Organization. Meanwhile, besides reducing choices available to consumers, a trade war may lead to retaliatory measures by both sides, which will affect other goods, resulting in a no-win situation. 

The Mainland and the U.S. are the most important trade markets for Hong Kong. If the instability of the overall trade relations between the U.S. and Mainland China gives rise to exchange rate fluctuations, Hong Kong will inevitably suffer. However, with our decades of solid experience in international trade, the business community will not flinch from competition and will even seek out new opportunities in the ever-changing global landscape.

Indeed, opportunities abound in the future economic development of the Mainland. The country is also willing to share the fruits of economic prosperity with Hong Kong and the world. Under the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and B&R initiatives, Hong Kong can integrate itself into the national development by leveraging on its inherent advantages as an international financial centre and a free port, with a view to promoting exchange and cooperation with countries and regional governments along the B&R regions. Foreign companies can also contribute to the development of the B&R by providing professional services for infrastructure projects.

To facilitate long-term economic and trade cooperation, the U.S. and Mainland China should strive to seek consensus to deal with the current conflict. In the meantime, businesses in Hong Kong should expand their markets to diversify risks. They should also proactively take part in the development of the GBA and the B&R to foster economic and trade cooperation with different countries, so as to enhance their own strengths and gain a foothold in the global market. 

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