Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam on relations with the US, potential second time period

Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam informed CNBC on Thursday that she was “optimistic” concerning the new US authorities beneath president Joe Biden will give her authorities a “truthful listening to” with regard to to town’s controversial nationwide safety regulation.

The regulation was launched in Hong Kong final 12 months by the Chinese language central authorities in Beijing – bypassing town’s legislators. The Trump administration criticized the transfer, which turned one of many points on the heart of deteriorating ties between the US and China.

Lam, nevertheless, denied that Hong Kong is a hard and fast level between the 2 financial powers. As an alternative, she mentioned that the US typically used town as a “farmer” in its contacts with China.

“So far as we’re involved, sure, we’re going by a really powerful interval the place Hong Kong is commonly positioned on the worldwide radar display,” Lam informed CNBC’s Emily Tan. She acknowledged that there are “a couple of legal guidelines made by the US Congress and the President’s govt order that have an effect on Hong Kong’s enterprise and people – together with myself, after all.”

“However I’m nonetheless optimistic that with the brand new US authorities, I hope they may give us a good listening to on nationwide safety regulation,” she added.

After the implementation of the regulation has The Trump administration sanctioned 11 individuals together with Lam – to “undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy” and rolled again town’s particular standing in keeping with US regulation which handled it in another way from different Chinese language cities.

Hong Kong is a former British colony that was returned to Chinese language rule in 1997. Town is ruled by the precept of “one nation, two techniques” and is given better autonomy than different Chinese language cities.

Lam mentioned her authorities had approached the World Commerce Group to problem the US’ elimination of Hong Kong’s particular standing – however their request for a settlement has been blocked by Washington.

“We at all times like to have what we used to have,” she mentioned. “What we used to have ought to really be with us however sadly on this entrance the sign isn’t very constructive.”

A second interval?

Hong Kong’s economic system has struggled with a number of crises lately, together with the US-China commerce conflict that intensified in 2018, months of democratic protests in 2019 and the continued coronavirus pandemic.

The newest obtainable financial information confirmed that Hong Kong’s economic system has been declining for 5 consecutive quarters on an annual foundation for the reason that third quarter of 2020.

Town is predicted to launch fourth-quarter GDP information on Friday, and the official forecast is for the economic system to shrink by 6.1% all through final 12 months – among the many worst ends in Asia.

Lam informed CNBC that she hopes to see “some encouraging progress” in 2021, except the pandemic worsens regardless of restrictions and vaccination.

She added {that a} vaccination program can be launched in Hong Kong subsequent month.

The variety of Covid vaccine doses that the federal government has dedicated to purchase is about 3 times Hong Kong’s inhabitants of seven.5 million, she mentioned.

Hong Kong has seen a rise in Covid-19 infections in latest weeks.

Town registered greater than 10,300 in cumulative instances and 176 deaths as of Thursday, in keeping with authorities information. The figures are decrease than many international locations and territories globally, however its economic system can’t afford further threats that dampen exercise.

Lam, who took over as town’s chief in 2017, has had a troublesome time period of workplace of each political and financial challenges.

Requested if she would search re-election when her time period ends subsequent 12 months, she declined to reply however mentioned: “I am simply making an attempt to consolation myself that girls are sometimes left to do the toughest job. And I occur to be considered one of them.”

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