US assesses penalties for Chinese officials
After advancements in legislation regarding stricter security in Hong Kong imposed from Pekin, the US is assessing penalties for members of the Chinese government. The Treasury Department could freeze assets belonging to officials or Chinese institutions linked to the implementation of laws or restrict their transactions. Applying visa restrictions on members of the Communist Party is also something that is being considered. Measures are still being discussed and no penalties have been made official. China has warned that it will respond if the US imposes sanctions on China and intervenes in its internal affairs. Massive protests in Hong Kong against the security law imposed from Pekin have started, which violate the government`s social distancing guidelines and reveals civil unrest. Last year the United States passed a law that required regular inspections on the defense of human rights in Hong Kong and the Department of State could publish its report on the matter in the following weeks. If the report is negative, Hong Kong could lose preferential treatment it receives from the US in terms of trade. Trump`s administration has been under increasing pressure on behalf of Republicans and Democrats to respond more vigorously to China`s efforts to control Hong Kong. Additionally, the House of Representatives is expected to pass a law today – one that will impose sanctions on Chinese officials for violating human rights in the Xinjiang region, location accused of hosting work camps for over 1 million Muslims. These measures increase political frictions between both countries.
European Commission proposes a fiscal package
The European Commission has proposed an economic stimulus package in Europe that considers 750 billion euros in aid to countries in order to fight the virus`s effects. Still pending are discussions and the package`s approval by the Union`s 27 members, who could meet in the following days. The package would be funded by debt issued jointly by country members of the EU and considers sending countries 500 billion euros in direct transfers as well as 250 billion in available loans. Spain and Italy could each receive up to 77 billion, with access to credit of up to 63 billion. These funds would be mainly allocated in investment and financing reforms in addition to strengthening health systems and helping social groups that are most vulnerable to the virus. If the package is approved, Europe would be taking a large step in the block`s financial integration. The Commission`s proposal appears after a mutual agreement between Germany and France that seeks to overcome differences between northern and southern countries with respect to the management of resources and joint financing to achieve recovery.