On July 15th, President Trump ended the U.S.’s economic relationship with Hong Kong, in which the United States treated Hong Kong as a separate entity than China. Now, in the eyes of the United States, Hong Kong and its businesses will be treated the same as mainland China and its businesses. This came after Chinese officials unilaterally decided to revert Hong Kong’s status as a separate entity. President Trump responded with, “Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China,” according to NPR’s coverage of his talk in the rose garden on Wednesday. This was done via executive order 13936 (EO 13936).
Trump has also placed sanctions on China. The mentioned sanctions have yet to take effect and are not listed in the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) list of recent actions taken by OFAC. The OFAC has listed EO 13936 as a recent action of theirs and began the enforcement of Trump’s treatment of Hong Kong as mainland China official as of June 20, 2020.
China is now promising retaliation. The latest threat they issued was imposing sanctions on “relevant US personnel and entities.” China has yet to release a list naming the US personnel and entities that it plans to place sanctions on. At this time, there are no accurate guesses as to what could be on that sanctions list.
President Trump’s sanctions to be placed on China include a ban on China exporting “sensitive technologies” to the US, but that’s not all. The Trump administration has also placed sanctions on 11 companies that supply many American companies, like Apple and Google, for violating human rights concerning the forced labor of Uyghur Muslims. China has also made a statement on those sanctions, and it can be found here.