Companies that use Hong Kong as their headquarters in Asia may begin to reconsider their decision over China's national security law, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday.
"I believe that there's a good chance that all companies who have used Hong Kong as their headquarters for Asia will begin to rethink whether the new rules, the new relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China, whether those rules let Hong Kong be as favorable a place to have headquarters as it used to be," he told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo.
The new law allows China to sentence people in Hong Kong to life in prison if they are found guilty of terrorism, subversion, or promote secession, and was enacted a year after anti-government protests became violent last year.
Ross said the Trump administration considers the law a "gross violation of human rights" and a breach of the original treaty reached when Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997.
Under that agreement, known as "one country, two systems," Hong Kong was allowed to maintain a "high degree of autonomy for 50 years.
Because of the new law, the United States earlier this week began the steps to revoke Hong Kong's special trading status, a move that happened because "China has made Hong Kong no longer a special haven. If it's not special to the Chinese, it shouldn't be special to us."
Ross also on Wednesday noted it was the first day for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and praised it as a move that will boost U.S. jobs.
"The former NAFTA treaty was filled with holes and it caused a big increase in our deficit with our two big trading partners," Ross said, explaining that since NAFTA, the United States has incurred more than $1 trillion in deficits with Mexico.
"For many of the states, a third of their exports in some cases, even more, go to Canada or Mexico, so it's a very, very important thing both for agricultural products and for manufactured products, especially automobiles," said Ross. He added that the new agreement will "likely result in 100,000 new jobs."
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