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US suspends extradition and tax agreements with Hong Kong

Matthew Lee
Associated Press

Washington – The Trump administration on Wednesday suspended or terminated three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong covering extradition and tax exemptions.

The State Department announced it had taken the steps as part of the administration’s response to China’s imposition of strict national security laws over the former British territory.

Rain droplets line a railing along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Typhoon Higos weakened to a strong topical storm after making landfall in Zhuhai city on Wednesday morning on China's southern coast.

President Donald Trump already had determined that Hong Kong was no longer eligible for the continued preferential treatment that it enjoyed based on its autonomy following its reversion to Chinese rule in 1997. The three agreements cover the transfer of fugitives and convicted prisoners as well as reciprocal tax exemptions on income from international shipping.

“These steps underscore our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose the National Security Law, which has crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The administration has already acted to end special trade and commercial privileges that Hong Kong had and has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials involved in enforcing the new security laws.