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HKSAR govt opposes US' plan to revise its WTO commitments

Photo taken on April 2, 2019 shows the WTO logo on the main gate of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. (XINHUA/XU JINQUAN)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said on Monday (Jan. 11) that it had notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its objection to the modification proposed by the United States to its commitments under the WTO government procurement agreement.

According to a statement issued by the Hong Kong government, on Nov 27, 2020, the US circulated a communication to the WTO Committee on Government Procurement, notifying the parties to the revised Agreement on Government Procurement of the proposed modification to its commitment under the pact.

The US proposed to remove its committed coverage from all central government entities of any goods that the US deemed necessary for responding to threats arising from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats as well as public health emergencies, such as medicines and medical devices.

Hong Kong is one of the 21 parties to the agreement.

In the statement, a spokesman for the Hong Kong government said the US' plan would result in a reduced list of products being subject to the WTO agreement, thereby affecting the business opportunities of Hong Kong suppliers to the US government procurement market.

"Hong Kong is also concerned that it may affect the balance of rights and obligations" among parties under the agreement," the spokesman said.

Hong Kong requested, in a communication to the WTO, the US to provide more information to facilitate its assessment of the likely consequences of the modification, according to the spokesman.

"Hong Kong further reserves its right to take necessary steps to ensure that the balance of rights and obligations under the WTO GPA (Agreement on Government Procurement of the World Trade Organization) is maintained," the spokesman said.

(Source: China Daily)

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