New York - Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau, met with the Consul General of the United States to Hong Kong and Macau, Kurt Tong, today to convey to the U.S. administration Hong Kong’s request for exclusion from the U.S. plan to raise tariff on imports of aluminum products from Hong Kong.

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

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

“These minimal exports would by no means threaten the US’ national security or the viability of the U.S. domestic industries. The proposed tariff is totally unjustified. We urge the U.S. 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 U.S.,” he said.

Hong Kong filed a formal representation to the U.S. 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 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 honor 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 U.S.,” Mr. Yau said.

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