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Concerns mount as Trump signs bills supporting Hong Kong’s protests

Concerns mount as Trump signs bills supporting Hong Kong protests

U.S President Donald Trump has signed two bills to support protesters in Hong Kong to become a law, reigniting concerns in markets as both countries approach signing the first stage of the trade agreement.

Despite repeated objections from China, which could lead Beijing to retaliate, Trump said in a statement issued by the White House on Wednesday that he signed the bills out of respect for Chinese President Xi Jinping and the people of Hong Kong.

As the bill requires annual reviews of Hong Kong's privileged business status under U.S. law, and imposes penalties on any officials found to be linked to human rights violations or abuses of city autonomy.

The Senate passed a version of the bill earlier this month and the House of Representatives approved another version in October.

Trump said the two laws were activated in the hope that leaders and representatives of China and Hong Kong would be able to resolve their differences in a friendly way that would lead to long-term peace and prosperity for all.

Trump's signing of the two bills comes amid U.S. attempts to reach the first phase of the trade deal with China, which has repeatedly refused the U.S. intervention in its own internal affairs.

For its part, China summoned US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad with deputy foreign minister Li Yin Sheng to tell him that the interference in Hong Kong affairs must be stopped.

They warned that such actions would affect "cooperation in important sectors," according to the State Department statement, which did not go far enough.

Earlier, the State Department threatened to respond, without giving any details about the response, or any sector that would be prolonged.

It is worth mentioning that the People's Bank of China on Thursday set the exchange rate of the yuan against the U.S. dollar at 7.0271, while it was set during yesterday's trading at 7.0349.

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