The United States government is calling for goods made or exported to the US from Hong Kong to be relabelled “Made in China”, according to a report on the South China Morning Post.
The measure, to be introduced by US President Donald Trump, does not appear to need Congressional approval or any kind of vote.
It will mean that Hong Kong companies exporting to the US will be required to pay the same kind of punitive tariffs currently placed on goods arriving in America from mainland China.
Until now, Hong Kong had been exempt because of its status as a “Special Administrative Region”, as China still calls it.
However, Hong Kong’s “special” status will no longer exist in about 45 days, when the new rule comes into force.
Goods that fail to comply with the rule will need to pay a 10 percent levy at the port of arrival in the US, says the SCMP.
This is the latest salvo in the Trump administration’s trade war on China and although this specific measure is seen as almost inconsequential because of the relatively small number of goods it affects, it is part of a broader range of measures which are said to be hurting the Chinese economy.
In the past week, Trump has intensified his attack on Chinese tech companies, turning his attention to TikTok, an app on which millions of people share humorous videos from their lives.
Trump suggested TikTok was a security threat and wants the US subsidiary to be sold. Microsoft has come forwards as a possible buyer.
The ongoing and increasing pressure on Huawei are well documented and are said to shrinking the Chinese telecommunications giant’s global market and supply chain.
Amid this apparently robust approach towards China, Trump has also said he has “a very good relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding that he is in the “final throes” of “one of the most important trade deals ever”.
Technically, China and America are negotiating a trade deal, but most observers describes the current relationship as a “trade war”.
How and when it will be resolved is not yet clear. So far, China has not retaliated to any great degree, arguing that it is more interested in maintaining free trade even while accusing the US of pursuing protectionist policies.