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Macau needs to ‘carefully’ study central govt’s new guidelines on easing Hengqin’s market access: Ho

2024-01-19 03:25     Comment:4

Tony Wong

        Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng underlined yesterday that it is “necessary” for both the Macau government and the city’s civil society to “carefully” study a new set of guidelines recently published by the central government on easing market access to the Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin.

Ho made the remarks in a speech while chairing this year’s first plenary meeting of the government-appointed Economic Development Council (CDE) at the Services Platform Complex for Commercial and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (aka Forum Macao Complex) near Macau Tower.

The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, was open to the media at the beginning when Ho made his speech.


NDRC & MOFCOM

On December 26 last year, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the nation’s top economic planner, and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) jointly published a new set of guidelines on easing market access to the in-depth cooperation zone, which aims to build a market access system and market environment that can better promote Macau’s appropriate economic diversification, helping Macau better integrate into the nation’s overall development through pioneering reform measures.

The set of guidelines is officially known as Special Measures to Support the Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin in Easing Market Access. It lays out 20 measures covering finance, culture and tourism, technological innovation, medical health, and professional services.

In their joint guidelines, the NDRC and the MOFCOM note that the Master Plan of the Development of the Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, which was released in September 2021, requires the central government’s respective entities to draw up special measures to ease the in-depth cooperation zone’s market access.

In his speech yesterday, Ho said that the recent set of guidelines jointly published by the NDRC and the MOFCOM is very important for promoting Macau’s ongoing appropriate economic diversification drive. Ho noted that the set of guidelines lays out a string of “open and innovative” measures in compliance with the desired integrated development between Macau and Hengqin.

Ho also said that the set of guidelines aims to “improve” the thresholds for access to various industries and sectors, in terms of various aspects such as market access requirements, industrial synergy, and improved services supporting residents’ daily living.

Ho underlined that the measures laid out by the guidelines are closely related to Macau’s long-term development in various aspects, because of which, the chief executive said, it is necessary for his government and various segments of Macau’s civil society to carefully study the guidelines with the aim of gaining a deep understanding.

Ho also underlined that his government is organising briefing sessions for representatives from various sectors on the central government’s latest measures aiming to support Macau’s development. He said that the briefing sessions will help the city’s various sectors to grasp the “new and important” development opportunities created by the central government’s support, with the aim of enabling Macau to make “concrete” achievements in its appropriate economic diversification campaign.


 ‘Crucial & fruitful results’

In his speech, Ho also said that 2023 was a “crucial” year for Macau’s economic development as well as a year with “fruitful results”, during which, he said, the city has been able to regain the momentum of economic growth thanks to the joint efforts of the government and civil society to grasp the post-pandemic economic recovery opportunities.

Ho said that 2024 is a year of great historical significance, marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the 25th anniversary of Macau’s return to the motherland. The chief executive also noted that 2024 is the year when the first-phase development goals of the in-depth cooperation zone are scheduled to be achieved, as well as a year when Macau’s economic development will “reach a new level”.

The Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation Zone’s top decision-making body is its administrative committee, which is jointly headed by Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong and Ho.

Ho pledged that this year the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) will continue to work closely with the in-depth cooperation zone with the aim of ensuring that the zone’s first-phase development goals will be achieved, by fully integrating its official plan for the city’s appropriate economic diversification drive, which takes effect this year. The plan, the final version of which was announced in November last year, covers a period from 2024 through 2028.


Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng chairs the 2024 Economic Development Council’s (CDE) first plenary meeting at the Forum Macao Complex yesterday. – Photo: GCS


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