KU News Service

US move on Hong Kong autonomy has trade, cold war implications, world trade expert says

Thu, 05/28/2020

LAWRENCE — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that Hong Kong no longer maintains autonomy from mainland China, a move that could have significant ramifications in trade between the U.S. and Hong Kong. While the island has been exempt from tariffs leveled by the Trump administration, Wednesday’s move will likely alter trade relationships and add to speculation that China and the United States are entering a cold war.

Pompeo was required to issue a determination on Hong Kong’s autonomy to Congress by a law passed last year. Raj Bhala, an international trade law expert at the University of Kansas, is available to discuss the determination and its effects with media. Bhala, the Brenneisen Distinguished Professor of Law at the KU School of Law, can discuss Pompeo’s determination, trade between the U.S. and Hong Kong, trade between the U.S. and China, the ongoing trade war, Hong Kong’s exemption from tariffs thus far, potential cold war between the U.S. and China, and related topics.

“If, indeed, the U.S. ends Hong Kong’s special trade status, not only would that move be the most significant one since the start of Sino-American Trade War but also would lend support to the increasing and fearsome prospect that the U.S. and China are in a cold war,” Bhala said.

Pompeo cited mainland China’s recent announcement that it will impose national security legislation on Hong Kong as part of a series of efforts taken under President Xi Jinping that show the former British colony is no longer autonomous. Bhala, a world-renowned expert on international trade law, can discuss how the move will affect trade and relations between the nations. He has written dozens of books and journal articles on international trade, including the acclaimed four-volume International Trade Law: A Comprehensive Textbook, now in its fifth edition, and the two-volume treatise “Modern GATT Law” and “TPP Objectively: Legal, Economic, and National Security Dimensions of CPTPP,” second edition. He also writes a regular column, “On Point,” for Bloomberg Quint in India. Bhala practiced international banking law at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before entering academia, and he currently serves as senior adviser to Dentons in Kansas City and has worked in more than 25 jurisdictions around the world, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at or @MikeKrings.

RT @kunhm : Here's a great #FossilFriday from @KuPaleobot curator, Brian Atkinson! @KU _EEB #paleobotany

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