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U.S. ban on “Made in Hong Kong” label violates trading laws: WTO

Exterior view of the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Xinhua Photo

Geneva, Switzerland | Xinhua | The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled on Wednesday that the United States was violating international trading laws by requiring Hong Kong products to be labeled as “Made in China.”

The U.S. origin marking requirement has violated the country’s obligation under the trade body’s rules, said a WTO dispute panel, rejecting Washington’s argument that its national security interests allowed for such labeling.

The panel said it did not constitute an “emergency in international relations” and that the U.S. labeling rules discriminated against products made in Hong Kong.

On Aug. 11, 2020, the United States required the origin of Hong Kong products exported to the United States should be labeled “Made in China.” Currently, the origin of Hong Kong export products is marked as “Hong Kong” as Hong Kong is a separate member of the WTO and enjoys the special status as a separate customs territory under “one country, two systems.”

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government welcomed the ruling.

The ruling has once again confirmed that the United States has disregarded international trade rules, attempted to impose discriminatory and unfair requirements unilaterally, unreasonably suppressed Hong Kong products and enterprises, and politicised economic and trade issues, said Algernon Yau, secretary for commerce and economic development of the HKSAR government, in a statement.

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