What the Anti-sanctions Law could mean for Hong Kong?

The city’s status as a financial hub amongst others must be considered upon its implementation.

Hong Kong has a “constitutional responsibility” to implement China's Anti-sanctions Law that sought to counter foreign states' intervention, but it will be carried out based on the situation on the ground, Finance Secretary Paul Chan said. 

The law, which hurdled China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in June, will serve as a countermeasure against “unilateral coercive” measures imposed by foreign states, which it asserted as prohibited under international law.

Secretary Chan said, however, that the Hong Kong government will have to consider the situation in the city as it implements the law, anticipating that it will be used to undermine the business environment in Hong Kong.

“When we implement it in Hong Kong in the future, we will fully consider the actual situation of Hong Kong and its status as an international financial, trade, and shipping center,” Chan said in his blog.

“However, it can be predicted that some people may use this hype to try to weaken Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center and discredit Hong Kong’s business environment, and even cause market fluctuations to fish in troubled waters.”

Read also: New China law counters international sanctions

Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng had earlier expressed her support for the measure, citing the principle of non-intervention in international law adopted by the United Nations in 1970.

Secretary Chan said the law will play two particular roles: to serve as a block to organisations or individuals from implementing foreign sanctions and to implement national countermeasures.

He noted that Hong Kong has previously introduced similar measures, concerning the EU or the UK.

Before 1997, Hong Kong had adopted laws (the Protection of Trade Rights Ordinance - Chapter 471) to counter the additional trade restrictions imposed by other countries in order to reduce the impact on Hong Kong enterprises. 

He said that the new Anti-Sanctions law may have been drafted with the same intent of safeguarding the country’s dignity, security, and development interests.

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