Relations between Macao and Portuguese-speaking Countries
Macao – Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries
Due to historical ties, Macao has forged close and extensive connections with Portuguese-speaking countries (PSCs) across four continents which cover a total population of over 200 million, and therefore plays the role as a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (referred to below as ‘the Platform’).
The Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (referred to below as ‘Forum Macao’) has been convened in Macao five times since 2003, and during each session a Strategic Plan for Economic and Trade Co-operation was signed. The Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao was established in Macao in 2004 to execute and implement the resolutions approved at the conference.
In the 5th Ministerial Conference of Forum Macao in October 2016, leaders of China and PSCs signed the Strategic Plan for Economic and Trade Co-operation (2017-2019), which identified key areas and the development direction for economic and trade co-operation between both sides over the following three years. Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang delivered a keynote speech and announced various new supportive measures for the development of Macao in taking on the role as the Platform. After the conference, Macao SAR Government proceeded to implement the measures and forge ahead with the various objectives that had been set.
In October 2016, trade promotion organisations from Mainland China, Macao and PSCs participated in the inauguration of the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Federation of Entrepreneurs and signed various co-operation agreements. On 1 June 2017, the China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund headquarter was inaugurated at a signing ceremony, signifying that the Fund has officially established a foothold in Macao. Furthermore, the Complex of Commerce and Trade Co-operation Platform for China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (referred to below as ‘the Complex’), which occupies an area of 14,200 square metres and has a gross floor area of 50,000 square metres, will become the venue of Forum Macao in future and provide facilitation services for co-operation between China and PSCs with its integrated functions covering commercial services, economic and trade negotiations, product display, cultural exhibitions and information exchange. Premier Xi Jinping also visited the Complex during his official trip to Macao in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Macao’s handover in December 2019.
Meanwhile, Macao is constructing an extension of the Platform: Three Centres, namely a food product distribution centre for PSCs, a convention and exhibition centre for economic and trade co-operation between China and PSCs, and a commercial and trade service centre for SMEs of China and PSCs. The Macao SAR Government is working on the orderly development of the Three Centres through a series of online and offline efforts, as well as lending support to enterprises and investors from Mainland China and PSCs in exploring co-operation opportunities.
Macao is a city free from external debt and foreign currency restrictions, and enjoys the status as both a free port and a separate customs territory. It adopts a simple and low taxation system with a corporate profit tax rate not exceeding 12%. Macao has a public administration structure and legal system based on those of Portugal and follows a public administration and legal regime similar to other PSCs, which facilitates an understanding of respective systems between China and PSCs. In addition to Chinese, Portuguese is also the official language of Macao, and contracts and agreements in both languages are signed between enterprises. Macao has a large pool of bilingual professionals as well as many Portuguese expatriates and immigrants who can provide translation/interpretation, accounting and legal services to enterprises from the mainland and PSCs during their commercial negations and co-operation. After years of effort, Macao’s role as a platform between China and PSCs has obtained international recognition, continuously promoting cultural exchange, trade and investment, and industry-wide co-operation between China and PSCs, while providing support to China in ‘going global’ and ‘attracting investments’.