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AmCham HK fears U.S. businesses affected by violence, HK-related bill

(Xinhua)    08:24, October 16, 2019

HONG KONG, Oct. 15 -- The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham HK) has found that many U.S. businesses have been affected by Hong Kong's prolonged protests and violence, and feared that a Hong Kong-related bill at the U.S. Congress could have counter-productive consequences on U.S. business.

In its latest temperature-testing survey conducted on Oct. 8-13 and published Monday, AmCham HK found that 61 percent of the surveyed member companies have seen their business affected by the months of protests and violence in Hong Kong to a great or medium extent, higher than the result of 43.8 percent of a previous survey in July.

The survey was received by about 1,200 AmCham HK members and responded by 124 of them. Among them, 46 percent said they are pessimistic about Hong Kong's long-term prospects, up from 34 percent in July poll.

Despite the above findings, 76 percent of the respondents do not think their companies are considering moving capital, assets or business operations from Hong Kong.

"The fact that a majority of companies surveyed say they will not leave the city highlights the importance of Hong Kong as a strategic and irreplaceable business hub for Asia," said AmCham President Tara Joseph.

"This survey should sound as an alarm bell for all who value Hong Kong as a vibrant business hub with rule of law and free flow of information," she said. "It's crucial now to see an end to violence."

Replying to Xinhua inquiry on Tuesday, AmCham HK referred to an earlier statement that also called for support for Hong Kong's special status and expressed "reservations" about certain provisions of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act being discussed at the U.S. Congress.

"AmCham has reservations about certain provisions of the pending U.S. legislation that we fear could have unintended, counter-productive consequences, including on American business and its ability to continue exercising a strong positive influence in favor of Hong Kong's traditional core values," said the statement.

AmCham HK said it has concerns about the sections addressing export controls and sanctions in particular, elaborating that the export control reporting mechanism can chill cooperation and open dialogue between the United States and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and risks a lose-lose for the United States.

Describing economic sanctions and visa bans as "a more controversial tool of U.S. foreign policy," it said their use with respect to Hong Kong could harm Hong Kong's reputation as an international financial center with rule of law and a place where American businesses can openly compete on a level playing field.

"The U.S. should invest in Hong Kong's autonomy and rule of law as opposed to taking steps that threaten to undermine it," the chamber of commerce said, adding that U.S. policy toward Hong Kong "should be driven first and foremost by a spirit of cooperation, nourishment, and support for this singular and irreplaceable place."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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