Actually, this is not the first peak of diplomatic tension between the United States of America and China. Yet, now Trump bends the rules even further south. In fact, the US Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees and controls borders and customs, has imposed a new measure: products imported from Hong Kong, and manufactured in the same city, must be labelled as goods made in China, not made in Hong Kong any longer.
Why? Following the approval of the National Security Law, US authorities claim that the ex-British dominion can be no longer considered independent from Beijing.
Trump bends the rules
Such action, taken by Trump’s government, may require various interpretations. On the one hand, it is going to affect, by all means, current relations between the two territories: Hong Kong will no longer enjoy some special customs conditions that had been operational since 1992, thanks to a reciprocal agreement.
Moreover, the made in China labelling is going to modify customs tariff conditions as well: considering the long-lasting trade war, tariffs are not bound to get more convenient.
As sharply highlighted by Bloomberg, the decision made by Trump has also a symbolic connotation: in 2019, goods and commodities imported from Hong Kong, and actually manufactured in its metropolitan area, accounted only for 1.2% of the total quantity.
The remaining imports used to consist of goods and products passing through the harbour city, but manufactured somewhere else. By making such decision, then, the White House did want to meddle (by tackling) in the tensions between China and Hong Kong, currently underway.
In the meantime, they have sent a message that may result in a slight easing of tensions. The first deadline, formerly set by US authorities to turn the new measure into effective law, was 25 September 2020.
Then, as reported by the South China Morning Post, social protests in the Asian area eventually persuaded Washington authorities to postpone, at least, the term previously established.
The new due date will be November 9th: starting from that day, there will be no more formal difference between China and Hong Kong, as to goods passing through US customs.