The “Special Status” relationship has been good for Hong Kong, good for China, good for the United States and it has been good for the toy industry. Let’s hope it continues.
There has been much talk this week about a possible end to the “Special Status” that Hong Kong and the U.S. have enjoyed for the last several decades. Under that status, among other things, Hong Kong citizens have not had to obtain visas to visit the United States. In the same manner, U.S. citizens have not been required to secure visas in order to visit Hong Kong (they are necessary for visiting China).
Also, the U.S. and Hong Kong currencies have been pegged to each other, meaning that if the U.S. dollar rises or sinks in value, the Hong Kong dollar does so as well. In addition, neither country places tariffs on each other’s imports.
As a result of the special relationship between the U.S. and Hong Kong, the latter has become one of the world’s major banking centers and home to the world’s fourth-largest stock exchange. Hong Kong has been a comfortable and secure place. A place where international companies have offices and conduct business under the British rule of law, the basis for the U.S. legal system.
Those of us in the toy industry have benefited from Hong Kong’s “Special Status,” even though many of us may have been unaware that it existed. It has always been easy to enter and leave Hong Kong and conduct business there. We buy and sell toys without ever giving a thought to the fact that the infrastructure within we work, the “Special Status,” actually comes up for renewal by the Secretary of States every two years.
How will this affect us in the toy industry?
I, as some of you, regularly travel to China, visiting Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. When we do so, unlike in Hong Kong, we are required to have a Visa. Instead of British Common law, we are governed by the Chinese rule of law and have to follow different trade and banking regulations.
Based on these experiences, the changes would make business more challenging, but not overly so.
We all hope that the U.S. continues its special relationship with Hong Kong and that the people of Hong Kong can get back to doing what they do best, making it a pleasure to do business in a beautiful city with industrious and friendly people.
The “Special Status” relationship has been good for Hong Kong, good for China, good for the United States, and it has been good for the toy industry. Let’s hope it continues.