Washington Update

July 2nd, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

United States moves forward with altering Hong Kong preferential treatment

On Monday, the departments of Commerce and State announced that Hong Kong would no longer be treated as separate from China under US export control regulations, citing the risk that sensitive US defense and dual-use technology could be diverted to China following the imposition of new security measures. The announcements came a day before China passed and immediately implemented a new national security law for...

June 26th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Trump under pressure to sanction Chinese officials over Hong Kong, human rights

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (S. 3798) which would impose mandatory sanctions on foreign individuals, entities, and financial institutions that enable the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy by the Chinese government. This comes after the White House had reportedly asked cosponsor Kevin Cramer (R-ND) to block a vote on the act last week in order to propose “technical...

June 19th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Domestic politics continue to weigh on US-China relationship and Phase One trade deal

Developments this week underscore the central role China will likely play in the November general election, and point to further deterioration in the bilateral relationship in the near term. Allegations about President Trump’s China policy in a yet-to-be-published book by former National Security Adviser John Bolton overshadowed and what may have been constructive engagement on China, like US Trade...

June 12th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Lighthizer endorses worker-focused trade policy for 2020 

Next Wednesday, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will likely recommend a trade policy that prioritizes job creation and domestic manufacturing in annual testimony before the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees on the Trump administration’s 2020 trade agenda. In an essay published in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, Lighthizer argues that a worker-focused trade policy would enable the...

June 5th, 2020
By Anna Ashton and Chynna Hawes

Amid uncertainty around Hong Kong’s status, administration moves on visa and travel announcements

There has been little movement to implement President Trump’s announcement last Friday that the United States would begin the process of revoking Hong Kong’s special treatment under US law, and there is little clarity on what specific privileges will be eliminated. Short of an executive order, Trump’s announcement essentially kicked-off what will likely be a longer-term, interagency...

May 29th, 2020
By Anna Ashton and Chynna Hawes

Administration revokes Hong Kong special trade status in response to erosion of autonomy by China   

Amid rising political pressure to hold China accountable, President Trump today announced the administration would begin the process of revoking Hong Kong’s special trade and economic status under US law in response to the National People’s Congress (NPC) decision to move forward with national security legislation for Hong Kong. This comes after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo...

May 22nd, 2020
By Anna Ashton and Chynna Hawes

Tensions over Hong Kong autonomy resurface during China’s NPC

US policymakers are preparing a strong response after China announced plans at the start of the National People’s Congress (NPC) this week to deliberate new national security legislation for Hong Kong to address subversive activity in the wake of last year’s pro-democracy protests. While President Trump hedged that we do not yet know what action China will take, he affirmed the US would address a move to undermine Hong Kong...

May 15th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Phase One moving forward despite Trump tough talk, but other tensions escalate

The US-China commercial relationship remains in the cross hairs of top US officials, while working level government staff continue to press for full implementation of the Phase One trade deal. In comments made throughout the week, President Trump increased rhetorical pressure on China, including returning to the use of inflammatory language about the pandemic, voicing impatience with China’s lack of...

May 8th, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

Phase One trade deal under increasing scrutiny and political pressure

The top US and Chinese trade negotiators spoke on Thursday evening in a move to shield the agreement from increasing scrutiny and mounting anti-China sentiment due to the coronavirus. In addition to discussing the economic impact of the coronavirus, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He agreed that good progress is being made and that both sides fully expect...

May 1st, 2020
By Chynna Hawes

China ensnared in electoral politics up and down the ballot

Following the leak late last week of a National Republican Senatorial Committee memo advising candidates to aggressively attack China for COVID-19, the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans this week stepped up attacks targeting China’s role in the global pandemic. This includes reports that the administration is considering retaliatory actions to hold China accountable, such as by withholding debt payments,...

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