A subtle recalibration of the details of trade policy, as in this one example, may not matter much in the broader context. However, Washington would certainly take these issues into account in the overall balance sheet when assessing its trade relations in Hong Kong. The revocation of Hong Kong`s special status by the United States would be seen by Beijing as an infringement of its sovereignty, and China has previously threatened to take “strong counter-measures”. Over the decades, trade relations between the United States and Hong Kong have been in place, but the fact remains that there have been many more increases than absences. Overall, Hong Kong has rightly been seen by Washington as a bastion of free trade. Certainly, trade in Hong Kong is in the midst of a much larger geopolitical and geoeconomic battle. In any event, Hong Kong is unlikely to have an impact on the outcome. But in the meantime, she can only fight against her own corner. So how is it that we got to the place where the United States withdrew from Hong Kong because of trade discrimination? President Donald Trump`s latest executive order means that from November 9, Hong Kong products will have to be labelled “Made in China.” This appears to be contrary to WTO non-discrimination rules and significantly alters the competitive conditions of Hong Kong producers who have invested time and money in building their brands. Of course, Congress is still free to reconsider its previous actions, but the fact is that the United States has strongly supported the continuation of Hong Kong`s role in the trading system. Indeed, this continued well beyond 1997, with a series of positive statements from the United States, when Hong Kong`s trade policy was regularly reviewed in the WTO. In 2018, the United States congratulated Hong Kong on its years of commitment to an open and free market economy. Hong Kong is also a full member of the World Trade Organization and has a customs territory separate from mainland China.
Along with the United States, Hong Kong is also an independent member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and the Financial Action Group.  Hong Kong enjoyed a high degree of autonomy as a separate customs territory, without altering borders, manpower or controls of technological exports since the handover in 1997. Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection has improved considerably in recent years and the introduction of new and effective legislation to combat illegal production and improved enforcement has made Hong Kong a regional model for effective protection of intellectual property rights.