This week US President Donald Trump signed legislation that indirectly supports protesters in Hong Kong. The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress last week, and Trump had until next week to either sign or veto the proposal. If Trump had not taken action by December 3, the bill would have been passed automatically.
There has been some uncertainty about what Trump would do, as he assured Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this year that the United States would tone down criticism of Beijing's handling of the Hong Kong turmoil. However, now the US has gone in the opposite direction, and the mood between the two great powers is thus likely to become even more tense. This due to pressure from the American congress
The legislation Trump signed states that the United States could use financial sanctions against China for human rights violations in Hong Kong. The law is supposed to support the demonstrators in Hong Kong and give them more political freedom. In addition, the law makes it possible to impose sanctions on government officials, politicians and others who, in the US's opinion, are guilty of violating human rights in Hong Kong.
Although the laws related to Hong Kong and the ongoing trade conflicts are two separate issues, it can thus be more difficult to separate them from one another now, which makes a trade agreement even more difficult to achieve. From a market perspective, the implications for the trade war are important, and the verdict seems to be a step in the wrong direction. Causing escalating tensions between the US and China and shrink the chances of a trade agreement anytime in the future.
Emily Cochrane, Edward Wong and Keith Bradsher: Trump Signs Hong Kong Democracy Legislation, Angering China.