China moving back on economic reforms: U.S. Consul general of Hong Kong & Macau

While China has been loquacious about economic reforms and opening up its domestic sector to foreign players, its actions on the ground reflect broken contracts and non-compliance of WTO rules.

On Tuesday, the U.S. consul general of Macau and Hong Kong stated there are worrying signs that China, the world’s second biggest economy is moving back on reforms and its non-compliance to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules are detrimental to the United States.

These words by Kurt Tong were mentioned at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and comes at a time when both, the United States and China are threatening each other with billions of dollars in tariffs and fanning worries of a trade war.

“From the U.S. perspective, China’s WTO commitments reflect somewhat of a broken contract,”said Tong to an audience of business professionals. “Perhaps most worrisome, actually, is the sense we have in the United States that China’s forward progress on economic reform and opening in recent years has stalled…in fact, depending on the issue under consideration, there are some worrisome signs that things may actually be moving backward.”

Worries that the current trade conflict could turn into a trade war have rattled business houses and investors alike since it would create significant uncertainties in global supply chains.

The U.S. consul general said China’s size and international economic success had given birth to the idea that it was acceptable if it were to ignore global trading rules.

“Some thought leaders in China are even championing the narrative that a non-transparent, state-dominated approach to running an economy is a legitimate alternative to free and fair markets where everyone can participate,” said Tong. “For the United States, the result of this situation is growing disappointment.”

Hong Kong is proof that although its economy is part of China, it is also consistent with global best practices, said Tong.

It is crucial for Hong Kong that the United States and China maintain harmonious trade and economic relationship.

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