The act that President Trump signed today is a law that requires the U.S. to review all of the democracy issues within Hong Kong to assess whether any Chinese violations to Hong Kong autonomy are happening. If so, the U.S. can take remedial steps to punish China.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would require the State Department annually re-certify Hong Kong’s autonomous nature, in order for the so-called “special treatment” the U.S. affords Hong Kong to continue. (more)
Keep in mind a dual purpose to this latest move: Hong Kong holds a special trade status with the U.S. and is exempt from tariffs placed on China. Part of the punitive action President Trump could take against China involves tariffs against Hong Kong.
Today, I have signed into law S. 1838, the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” (the “Act”). The Act reaffirms and amends the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, specifies United States policy towards Hong Kong, and directs assessment of the political developments in Hong Kong.
Certain provisions of the Act would interfere with the exercise of the President’s constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States. My Administration will treat each of the provisions of the Act consistently with the President’s constitutional authorities with respect to foreign relations.
Again, back to the big picture, is this an action that would indicate President Trump is actually looking for a U.S-China trade agreement? Of course not. So why now, what changed?… The USMCA! It’s all connected folks.