HONG KONG, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- An influential U.S. business group in China said that "smoothly functioning commerce" in Hong Kong is "fundamentally important" to the business interests of its members, a Hong Kong newspaper has reported.
Timothy Stratford, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in China, said "it is without question that smoothly functioning Hong Kong commerce is fundamentally important to our members' business interests and an important validator of the 'one country, two systems' approach," the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Friday.
The remarks came as business in Hong Kong faced disruptions due to continued street protests over the past weeks.
A straw poll in late July, which surveyed 1,400 members of the AmCham Hong Kong, a sister organization of the AmCham China, showed that 37.1 percent of the respondents were "pessimistic" in the short-term over Hong Kong's prospects and 34.4 percent believed that the city's "long-term prospects have been irreparably damaged," according to the SCMP.
The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) also appealed for calm on Friday night.
"The HKAB calls on members of the public to stop all violent acts and to resolve differences through dialogues," the business group said. "We also hope that the Hong Kong community will return to calm and peace soon."
AmCham China is the only officially recognized chamber of commerce representing U.S. businesses in Chinese mainland, which gathers more than 3,300 individual members from 900 companies.