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SCED meets US Consul General on exclusion from aluminium tariff

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, met with the Consul General of the United States (US) to Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Kurt Tong, today (March 15) to convey to the US administration Hong Kong's request for exclusion from the US plan to raise tariff on imports of aluminium products from Hong Kong.

     "We urge the US administration to exclude Hong Kong from its plan to raise tariff on the import of aluminium products from Hong Kong as we consider such measures unilateral, discriminatory and based on unfounded allegations. We also urge the US administration to engage in full dialogue with us prior to any unilateral action," Mr Yau said.

     Noting that the US had a surplus of US$32.5 billion in merchandise trade with Hong Kong in 2017, making it the economy with which the US has the highest trade surplus, Mr Yau said Hong Kong exports only a small volume of the covered aluminium goods to the US.

     "These minimal exports would by no means threaten the US' national security or the viability of the US domestic industries. The proposed tariff is totally unjustified. We urge the US administration to give full regard to the long-standing and close bilateral trade relations with Hong Kong, a reliable and responsible trading partner of the US," he said.

     Hong Kong filed a formal representation to the US administration on February 27 to state its opposition, deep concern and regret about the proposed tariff. The Permanent Representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) also registered Hong Kong's grave concern about the proposed tariffs at the General Council Meeting of the WTO on March 7.

     "As a staunch supporter of free trade and the multilateral trading system, we urge WTO Members to honour their tariff commitments. To this end, we will continue to follow up on the matter on the WTO platform, while starting bilateral discussions with the US," Mr Yau said.

     Mr Yau added that the Trade and Industry Department (TID) has been liaising with local aluminium manufacturers. Hong Kong manufacturers exporting the affected categories of products to the US are encouraged to get in touch with the TID for advice and assistance in making representation to the US Department of Commerce to exclude their product from unilateral tariffs when the procedures for doing so are released.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:18