• Beijing imposed a security law earlier this year that threatens Hong Kong's autonomy
  • The U.S. sanction 11 Chinese officials and Beijing retaliated by sanctioning Sen. Ted Cruz and several others
  • The canceled agreements deal with fugitives, prisoners and reciprocal income taxes on international ship operations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday the U.S. government is rescinding three agreements with Hong Kong because of the security law imposed by Beijing that threatens the former British colony’s autonomy and freedoms.

“The Chinese Communist Party chose to crush the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong. Because of the CCP’s actions, we are terminating or suspending three of our bilateral agreements with the territory,” Pompeo tweeted.

Earlier in the day, President Trump canceled scheduled trade talks with China although no reason was given.

Washington has been highly critical of China’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The administration earlier sanctioned 11 Chinese officials. In response, Beijing imposed sanctions on Sen. Ted Cruz and other U.S. officials who have been critical of the regime and its decision to adopt a security law that in effect outlaws dissent.

In May, Trump announced an end to Hong Kong’s special trade status.

“This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China and indeed the people of the world,” Trump said at the time.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said authorities in Hong Kong were notified Wednesday of the end of three bilateral agreements relating to fugitives, the transfer of prisoners and reciprocal tax exemptions on income from the international operation of ships.

“These steps underscore our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose the National Security Law, which has crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” Ortagus said in a press release.

The U.S. exported nearly $31 billion in goods and services to Hong Kong last year and imported $4.8 billion. The pace of exports this year is much slower at $11.8 billion, with imports at $6 billion, through June, Commerce Department figures show. The U.S. Trade Representative said exports to Hong Kong in 2018 accounted for 2.2% of the overall U.S. total.