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Rubio, Smith Introduce Bill to Remove CCP-Influenced Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices from U.S.

Dec 15, 2022 | Comunicados de Prensa

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (HKETOs) operate as official representative offices of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to the United States and enjoy a series of privileges, exemptions, and immunities. HKETOs were granted these privileges under the assumption Hong Kong would remain free from the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian grip. However, that reality changed following the imposition of Beijing’s 2020 National Security Law in Hong Kong. With the enactment of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the United States no longer recognizes Hong Kong as autonomous.
Senator Rubio and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) Certification Act to reevaluate the United States’ recognition of HKETOs following Hong Kong’s loss of autonomy. 

  • “Given Beijing’s takeover of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices can no longer escape the reach of the Chinese Communist Party. HKETOs now serve as a mouthpiece for the CCP. Common sense – not to mention U.S. law – advises that they be rooted out of our country altogether.” — Senator Rubio

  • “It is clear that Chinese dictator Xi Jinping, in implementing Beijing’s National Security Law, has smothered civil and political rights in Hong Kong and ripped apart the Basic Law—Hong Kong’s mini-constitution—not to mention the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which is an international treaty. ‘One Country, Two Systems’ is dead, and our laws must be updated to reflect that reality. Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices now are functional outposts of the Chinese Communist Party, and their reason for being no longer has any basis in fact.” — Representative Smith

Background. The legislation would require the President, 30 days after enactment, to certify whether HKETOs in the United States merit the extension of privileges, exemptions, and immunities that they currently maintain. If the President certifies that the HKETOs do not merit diplomatic immunities, the HKETOs will terminate their operations within six months. If the President determines that the HKETOs do merit an extension of privileges, Congress has the authority to offer a disapproval resolution which, if adopted, would force the administration to revoke the privileges enjoyed by the HKETOs. This determination by the President would be required yearly.