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Rubio, Merkley Applaud SFRC Passage of Bill to Remove CCP-Controlled Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices From U.S.

Jul 13, 2023 | Press Releases

During a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations business meeting, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) Certification Act, authored by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was favorably reported and now heads to the full Senate.

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. That reality changed after the imposition of Beijing’s draconian 2020 National Security Law. Following the enactment of the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, led by Senator Rubio, the U.S. no longer recognizes Hong Kong as autonomous. HKETOs in the United States now serve as another mouthpiece that the Chinese Communist Party uses to obscure its long record of human rights abuses against Hong Kongers and other groups that Beijing deems a threat.  

  • “Hong Kong is unfortunately neither autonomous nor democratic as China’s genocidal regime continues to undermine the city’s basic freedoms. Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices no longer merit diplomatic immunities in our nation, as such, their privileges must be revoked. I urge the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation.” — Senator Rubio

  • “The sad reality is that the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices now serve as propaganda arms of the Chinese government. Committee passage of this bipartisan bill is a strong step forward in defense of the people of Hong Kong.”— Senator Merkley

Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.