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US-China trade war could put HK at risk: SAR's commerce secretary says


US President Donald Trump has been urged by Hong Kong's commerce secretary to stop escalating trade tensions with China and work together towards a solution, saying that his city's status as a global trading hub might be at risk.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau told the Washington-based Atlantic Council that Hong Kong was caught in the crossfire in the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

"Hong Kong is in fact the first to suffer from any trade dispute among big players, because we are most vulnerable as the most open trading agent in our part of the world," he said.

In a defence of free trade, Mr Yau said that no country, big or small, should abandon global trade, whatever its concerns, the SCMP reported.

He insisted that the US and China needed to reach a resolution quickly, before too much damage was done, pointing out poetically: "In the time of rough weather or doubt, should we just walk away and blame each other? Or should we reconnect and bridge over doubts and differences?"

The trip to Washington by Mr Yau, who met with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and other administration officials early in the week, has two aims: convince the Trump administration to help spare the city from possible collateral damage from the trade war and promote business ties with the US amid soaring uncertainties.

Mr Yau also attended the signing of a statement between the US Department of Commerce and the Hong Kong Productivity Council about collaborating on smart technology. He noted Hong Kong depended on trade, the single biggest pillar for the city's economy.

"In a way, we are defenceless," he admitted. But having said that, Mr Yau added that "we will be the ones not to close doors, still trying to bring people together".

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