As Hong Kong enters the dizzying pace of holiday festivities, it’s worth stepping back to consider this year’s equally unsteadying U.S.-China trade developments.
Since President Trump first hit Chinese imports with tariffs in July, Hong Kong has been grappling with the potential ramifications for business and the economy as the tit-for-tat trade war escalated.
For certain sectors, such as sourcing and apparel, the message is clear: time to diversify supply chains away from an increasingly expensive China. For others, the pain is yet to come, especially if the trade war intensifies and hits global growth.
AmCham, meanwhile, made a herculean effort in Washington this year to show the benefits to American businesses from Hong Kong’s unique role under One Country, Two Systems. We continue to argue against conflating Hong Kong with mainland China in the trade war.
The chamber also engaged the HK government in constant dialogue throughout 2018. We were pleased to see Chief Executive Carrie Lam adopt some of our advocacy points in her annual policy address, including a move to modernize HK’s ports, and the publication of key recommendations for fostering an environmental, social and governance ecosystem for financial services.
Lam attended our first Smart City Summit in June, and joined the board for Thanksgiving lunch. AmCham Chairman Jack Lange and I also traveled to Washington with Trade Secretary Edward Yau.
Coming up in 2019, AmCham will celebrate its 50th anniversary by looking at how American businesses helped to shape Hong Kong – and will likely continue to do so over the next 50 years.
We will also host the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers, bringing in delegates from across Asia and Washington and highlighting Hong Kong’s connective role in Asia.
I’d like to close by saying what a pleasure it’s been to work with Jack in 2018, and to thank the board and hardworking staff of AmCham for all their dedication.
Happy Holidays and I look forward to seeing you at the chamber in 2019!