Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Nisha Gopalan

China May Dismiss U.S. Sanctions. Its Banks Can’t

While officials mock, lenders are preparing to comply.

One of these things is not like the other, at least as far as international payments go.

One of these things is not like the other, at least as far as international payments go.

Photographer: STR/AFP/Getty Images

King dollar still reigns supreme. And that means there are two ways for banks to go: the U.S. way, or the highway.

Hong Kong and Chinese officials scoffed when the Trump administration imposed sanctions last weekend on 11 individuals deemed to have played a role in undermining the city’s autonomy. Luo Huining, director of the central government’s Liaison Office, noted that he had no assets abroad and offered to “send $100 to Mr. Trump for him to freeze.” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she wouldn’t be intimidated and derided the U.S. notice for getting her address wrong. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority gave banks in the city a pass, saying they had no obligation to follow U.S. sanctions under local law.