Need any more proof that Hong Kongers are fed up with mainland shoppers raiding their shelves of milk? On Tuesday, someone submitted a petition to the White House for the Obama administration to “request for international support and assistance,” which is vague, “as babies in Hong Kong will face malnutrition very soon,” which feels like an insult to places where babies are facing actual malnutrition. More than 5,000 people have signed so far; 100,000 signatures are needed by February 28 for the Obama administration to, I dunno, raise a People’s Eyebrow or something.
But even if that fails, Hong Kong’s legislature is attacking the issue from another front. According to SCMP, “The city is considering making infant milk formula a ‘reserved commodity’ after executive councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee floated the idea to restrict exports and ensure local needs are met.” That would allow the city to set a price ceiling and restrict imports and exports. In simple terms, Ip proposes travelers be allowed to carry no more than two cans of milk powder out of the city.
That would counter pharmacies that reportedly reserved baby formula to sell at higher prices to mainlanders. “The government bears a responsibility to push down prices of goods where necessary,” she said.
Once the Chief Executive in Council approved the addition to the ordinance, the measure would take immediate effect, she said. The Legislative Council could vote on it at a later stage.
Leave it to chief executive CY Leung to be the voice of reason: “We hope to ensure that milk powder can be more conveniently delivered to mothers and babies [in a] joint Hong Kong-mainland effort.”
Joint Hong Kong-mainland efforts haven’t been very popular lately, unfortunately.