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Officials: Trump’s Hong Kong EO will further hurt NMI economy

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PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s executive order suspending or eliminating preferential treatment for Hong Kong including visa-free travel, will further hurt the CNMI economy,  Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ivan Blanco said in separate interviews on Wednesday.

The president’s executive order can be seen at https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidents-executive-order-hong-kong-normalization

Atalig noted that China and Hong Kong are the second largest tourism market of the CNMI.

“This will obviously hurt our opportunity to rebound from the effects of the pandemic,” he said.

“And this could also pose a challenge to our current investors from China and Hong Kong.”

Blanco, for his part said, Trump’s executive order “is just another blow to our economy.”

He said the CNMI has yet to recover from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, “and now this?”

Blanco said he thinks this is the time when the administration and the Legislature come up with a unified voice to inform the federal government about the impact of the executive order on the already struggling local economy.

In a separate interview, Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero, who chairs the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, said: “The U.S. president is correct in suspending visa-free travel from Hong Kong because of this issue with China, which is clamping down on Hong Kong.”

“We can appeal to the U.S. president not to hurt our economy, but what can we do? We are part of the U.S,” Guerrero added.

He said the CNMI should now focus on the Korean and Japanese markets.

 

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