Reed Smith Client Alerts

With the Hong Kong Autonomy Act signed into law, those doing business in Hong Kong should consider whether such business could be viewed by the U.S. government as assisting China in its infringement upon Hong Kong’s autonomy.

On July 14, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (the HKAA), unanimously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 1, 2020 and by the U.S. Senate on July 2, 2020. Simultaneously, President Trump signed an executive order (the Executive Order) implementing the HKAA and revoking Hong Kong’s preferential trade status, meaning it will now be treated the same as mainland China for the purposes of, among other things, export controls and tariffs.

The HKAA authorizes and then requires the U.S. President to impose sanctions on individuals and entities who assist China in the implementation of Beijing’s new national security law. In addition to requiring sanctions on foreign persons directly involved in repressing Hong Kong’s autonomy, the HKAA also requires the President to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions (FFIs) engaging in significant transactions with those foreign persons.

This article provides a brief background and overview of the HKAA as well as recommendations for those who may be impacted by the HKAA.