SCED speaks on US investigation reports on imports of steel and aluminium

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, at a media session on the investigation reports on imports of steel and aluminium under the Trade Expansion Act 232 released by the United States (US) Department of Commerce after attending RTHK's Lunar New Year gathering today (February 27):

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: The US Department of Commerce released on February 16 this year the investigation reports on imports of steel and aluminium under its Trade Expansion Act 232. The reports claimed that imports of steel and aluminium had adversely impacted the economic welfare of the US domestic industry and threatened to impair their national security. The reports recommended to impose tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminium, including a proposal to introduce a tariff of 23.6 per cent on imports of aluminium from Hong Kong.

According to the US, they claimed that there is a trade deficit of US$55 million on aluminium with Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Government disapproves of this proposed action by the US Government. We consider this is a unilateral and discriminatory act which is based on unfounded allegations. 

     Let us look at the big picture.

Hong Kong suffered from a trade deficit of over US$27 billion (in 2016) with the US. In other words, the US enjoyed an overall annual trade surplus of US$27 billion. Hong Kong's export of aluminium products at most constituted about HK$30 million.

So, as a percentage, that accounted for just a very tiny fraction, not up to 0.2 per cent of the total import of aluminium into the US. 

     We take exception to the proposed move by the US. We also urge the US Government to take a serious look at the whole matter and to stop such discriminatory action. We have, through our meeting with representatives of the US Consulate General, presented our representation against the US action.

We will do so in parallel through our Economic and Trade Office in Washington directly with the Department of Commerce. On this matter, we have also met with five major chambers of commerce in Hong Kong and also with the American Chamber of Commerce. They also shared Hong Kong's concern and hoped we could take this matter to a positive resolution.

I am happy to take questions.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Published on: 2018-02-27

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