"Seizing Unprecedented Business Opportunities with CEPA" was the theme of the 9thMacao International Trade and Investment Fair (9th MIF), which officially opened at 11.00am on 21st October on the 3rd floor of Macao Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre. The opening ceremony was presided over by the Acting Chief Executive of Macao SAR Ms. Florinda da Rosa Silva Chan, Vice Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People´s Government in the Macao SAR Mr. Wang Jinxiang, Mayor of Chongqing Municipal People´s Government Mr. Wang Hongju, Commissioner of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Macao SAR of PRC Mr. Wan Yongxiang, Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macao SAR Mr. Francis Tam Pak Yuen, Secretary General of Permanent Secretary to the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries Mr. Wang Liaoping, President of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, Mr. Lee Peng Hong, Director of the 9th MIF, Macao Convention and Exhibition Association, Miss Pansy Ho and President of Board of Directors of Macau Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Hoi Sai. Over a thousand guests including government officials, entrepreneurs and company representatives were also in attendance.

This year´s Fair had 332 booths in all: which consisted of 234 indoor and 98 outdoor booths. The main exhibition area was divided into Macao Hall, International Hall and Fashion Designers´ Club of which the themed pavilions included "Macau Industries and Trade Pavilion", "Macao – Ideal Place to Live", "World of Digital Technology and Photographical Equipment" and "Fashion Designers´ Club". The scope of the exhibits contained tourism services and travel costume jewellery, digital products and appliances, information technology, health products, sports goods, jewellery, textile and clothing, handicrafts and accessories, gifts, food products, innovative product designs, banking and finance, property investment, management services, investment projects among others.

Following the signing of the "Economic and Trade Co-operation Action Plan" at the "Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao)" last year, this year´s MIF included an outdoor plaza with 39 booths which Portuguese-speaking countries exhibited cheese, red wine, coffee, cashew nuts, garments, ceramic tiles, and woodcrafts to name a few as well as 41 booths from mainland exhibitors showing local delicacies, infant products, shoes, knives and crafts while there were 18 booths that were set up by The Macao Small and Medium Enterprises Association to showcase the "World of Small & Medium Enterprises – Macao" displaying the future plans and recent developments of Macao SME to the visitors.

In the meantime, we had the pleasure of receiving consuls, trade commissioners, government officials and delegations as well as representatives from enterprises from 37 different countries and regions to participate in this event namely Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Cape Verde, China, East Timor, France, Germany, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. The number of visitors totalled 107,500 during the 4-day period.

As the theme of the 9th MIF was "Seizing Unprecedented Business Opportunities with CEPA", the trade fair set out to show the competitiveness and potential of Macao in the goods and services sectors. In view of the increasing trade volume in goods between Mainland China and Macao since the implementation of CEPA, our Institute co-operated with the Macao Economic Services Bureau to introduce and explain CEPA in detail through a series of services and activities such as the "CEPA Information Counter", "Business Opportunities Brought by CEPA Seminar" and "and photograph exhibition".

A new project this year was "Buyers´ Corner" to reinforce the role of Macao as a trading platform and to create business opportunities for local and overseas entrepreneurs. We arranged 70 business-matching services for 23 local and overseas buyers with the exhibitors.

The business matching database that we set up before the fair had attracted 1,166 projects, recorded 132 actual matches and 23 partnership agreements with a total of MOP3.8 billion in transactions involved. The products included pharmaceutical factories, garment and linen factories, biochemical technology enterprises, agencies for marble, timber, sandalwood and spices, fruit and a sales agency for recycling materials. The enterprises involved were from the Portuguese-speaking countries, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao.

There were 37 forums, meetings, seminars and presentations held and 2,350 participants attended. Seminars were held on "Chongqing City – City and Human Resources Development Updates" and the International Trade and Investment Forum – "Reinforcement of Regional Co-operation for Creating Business Opportunities" on 21 October, "Macao – U.S.Business Opportunities", "Business Opportunities Brought about by CEPA", "Business Establishment for Youth Entrepreneur Forum 2004" and "Business Opportunities for Portuguese Speaking Countries with China in the New Millennium" on 22 October, "Investment and Trade Opportunities between Changzhi and Macao", "Business Environment and Investment Opportunities of Anshan City of Liaoning Province, China", "Business Environment and Investment Opportunities of Fushun City, Liaoning Province, China – Fushun Macao International Industrial Park" on 23 October with "Investment Environment of Lin An City" being held on the last day of the Fair.

This year´s Fair, in particular, the main exhibition area and activities was open to professional visitors on 21 October and open to all from 22 to 24. In order to evaluate the Fair objectively and analyse the results scientifically, our Institute again appointed the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities of University of Macao to carry out a survey. The survey received 683 completed questionnaires from professional visitors and 1,227 from the general public with the results showing that nearly 60% of the professional participants was satisfied overall with the exhibition, booth arrangements and venue management; 91% of the professional participants would recommend MIF to their business associates; more than 50% stated that they found potential business partners; 77% of the professional participants thought that Macao would become a business and trading platform for China and Portuguese-speaking countries while 80% of the general public had an overall good impression of MIF and would return next year.

The closing lucky draw was held on the 3rd floor of Macao Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre at 17:00 on 24 October, together with the whole hearted support of many local and overseas organisation led to the successful completion of the 9th MIF.

This article was prepared by IPIM´s Research and Information Division.