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76% of U.S. Firms in Hong Kong Are Frightened About Safety Regulation, Chamber of Commerce Survey Finds

76% of U.S. Companies in Hong Kong Are Worried About Security Law, Chamber of Commerce Survey Finds

A majority of U.S. companies working in Hong Kong are anxious in regards to the affect of the controversial nationwide safety legislation not too long ago imposed on the town by China, in line with a survey from the American Chamber of Commerce.

The foyer group mentioned 76% of firms had been involved in regards to the sweeping measures barring subversion, secession, terrorism and international collusion, with most being “extraordinarily involved.” The ballot of member firms — which AmCham described as a “temperature take a look at” of members’ sentiments slightly than a scientific examine — obtained responses from 183 corporations, greater than half of which have headquarters within the U.S.

When requested what involved them most in regards to the legislation, firms largely echoed issues voiced by international governments and civil society teams, saying they’re anxious in regards to the ambiguity of the laws’s scope and enforcement, the risk it poses to Hong Kong’s prized impartial judicial system and the danger the town may lose its standing as a world monetary hub.

“The potential for arbitrary utility of the nationwide safety legislation is horrifying to many and Hong Kong’s judiciary is powerless to guard the folks and rule of legislation,” one respondent informed AmCham. “A few of our workers have already voted with their ft to go away for safer nations. Many others are very involved and contemplating their choices.”

Hong Kong and mainland Chinese language officers have defended the legislation as a obligatory step to curb months of sometimes-violent unrest that rocked the previous British colony final yr earlier than the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic quieted the town’s protest motion.

Roughly 26% of corporations mentioned the brand new legislation made them really feel safer, echoing the federal government’s arguments in regards to the want for stability — in contrast with barely greater than 50% who mentioned the legislation made them really feel much less secure. About 22% of respondents mentioned they weren’t involved in regards to the laws.

‘Sport Changer’

Firms expressed fear about knowledge safety points, retaliatory measures from international governments within the type of export controls or tariffs, an erosion of Hong Kong’s assured autonomy and difficulties hiring and transferring gifted employees to the town. Almost half of respondents mentioned the potential for extradition to the mainland for a trial — which the brand new safety legislation permits — was a “recreation changer” for Hong Kong’s place as a trusted worldwide monetary heart.

Most firms mentioned they had been adopting a “wait-and-see” method to the legislation, whereas some corporations had been planning to cut back commerce and investments in Hong Kong, in addition to enterprise journey between the town and the U.S. Whereas two-thirds of firms mentioned that they had no plans to go away, about one-third mentioned they’d contemplate transferring belongings, capital or enterprise operations out of Hong Kong within the “medium-to-long run.”

After the legislation was introduced by Chinese language officers in late Might, particulars emerged slowly till the textual content was unveiled — initially solely in Chinese language — on June 30, on the eve of the July 1 anniversary of the town’s 1997 return from British rule. Almost 70% of respondents to the AmCham survey mentioned they’ve progressively turn into extra involved in regards to the legislation.

“The extra I study, the much less I like,” one other respondent informed the enterprise chamber. “We’re in China now, no query about it.”