US Treasury official visits Hong Kong in bid to deepen ties with China

HONG KONG (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury official Brent Neiman visited Hong Kong on Thursday, the highest ranking Treasury official to visit the financial hub since 2019, U.S. authorities said, as Washington aims to deepen ties with Beijing despite rising tensions.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said on Thursday that Neiman, the department’s assistant secretary for international finance, will hold engagements in Hong Kong “building on President Biden’s direction to deepen ties between the world’s two largest economies”.

The Hong Kong government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Neiman’s visit comes as China’s economy slows, weighed by weak consumer and private business sentiment, high levels of debt and a property market downturn.

The meeting builds on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit to China in July, the statement said.

During his visit to the special administrative region, Neiman will speak with “diverse audiences, including government officials, policymakers, scholars, the U.S. business community and financial leaders”. Topics will include bilateral financial and regulatory matters as well as macroeconomic and financial developments in Hong Kong and China, the statement said. Neiman will also engage students and young professionals to deepen U.S.-Hong Kong “people-to-people ties”.

“Neiman will stress the United States’ focus on securing and advancing our economic and national security interests, along with those of our allies and protecting human rights,” the statement said.

(Reporting by Farah Master. Editing by Gerry Doyle)