TEN YEARS’ CO-OPERATION IN THE PAN PEARL RIVER DELTA REGION MACAO’S ROLE AS A SERVICE PLATFORM HELPS PPRD ENTERPRISES TO EXPLORE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

Since the signing of the Pan PRD Regional Co-operation Framework Agreement in June 2004 in Guangzhou, Macao has established collaboration mechanisms with various PPRD trade and economic organisations and maintained close liaisons. Following the strengthening of the PPRD regional partnership and the further liberalisation brought by the Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and its Supplements, there are increasingly closer relationships between Macao and the PPRD region with greater collaboration.

Chief Executive Chui Sai On and leaders of provinces and regions witness the signing ceremony of the joint co-operation projects on economic and trade activities at the 10th PPRD Forum
[Photo: Macao Government Information Bureau(GCS)]

GUANGDONG, HONG KONG AND MACAO CO-ORGANISED THE 10TH PAN-PEARL RIVER DELTA (PPRD) REGIONAL CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT FORUM AND ECONOMIC AND TRADE FAIR
Being a member of the PPRD region, the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR has headed several SAR government as well as trade and economic delegations to participate in the Pan- Pearl River Delta (PPRD) Regional Co-operation and Development Forum and Economic and Trade Fair (PPRD Forum). From 12 to 13 October this year, the 10th PPRD Forum was jointly organised by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao and held in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The event was attended by around 1,200 guests including leaders, government delegations, trade and economic delegations and academics and professionals from the 9+2 provinces and regions, namely Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, plus the Guangxi Autonomous Region, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR. 780 co-operation projects were agreed amounted to RMB549.3 billion and 50 co-operation projects were signed amounted to over RMB87 billion. Macao SAR government was responsible for the co-ordination of the High Level Forum and other related activities.

Chief Executive Chui Sai On delivers a speech at the High Level Forum of the 10th PPRD Forum
[Photo: Macao Government Information Bureau(GCS)]

On 12 October, Chief Executive Chui Sai On led the Macao government delegation to attend the opening ceremony of the 10th PPRD Forum and as well presided over the High Level Forum. The theme of the High Level Forum was co-operation and development and plan for the future, leaders of the 9+2 provinces and regions conducted in-depth discussions on the implementation of an open economy to promote collaboration and development. The Chief Executive said that Macao is promoting the development of moderate economic diversification, and develop the city into a World Tourism and Leisure Centre as well as a trade and business service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (PSCs), which does not only require the support of the 9+2 provinces and regions, but also provides business opportunities and development potentials to other provinces and regions to benefit everyone.

The Chief Executive also said that the building of a trade and business service platform between China and PSCs is a major policy of the Macao SAR. The SAR government will do its utmost to set up a China and PSCs platform for bilingual expertise, enterprise collaboration as well as information exchanges and sharing and organise more PPRD and Macao enterprises to conduct fact-finding visits to PSCs and explore partnership opportunities. Macao will also enhance the standard of the branded exhibitions held locally and support PPRD enterprises to make use of the Macao MICE platform to tap the international market, encourage PSC business representatives and enterprises to directly visit the PPRD region. Macao will also conduct studies on the national policy and assist Mainland enterprises to set up external trade and economic cooperation zones in PSCs under the principle that it is feasible in market operation.

To conduct more practical, long-term and effective trade and business co-operation in the PPRD region, this year’s forum changed from being an on-site trade fair to focus on the development into a long lasting network marketing and business negotiation platform, with the priority to promote the trade fair, and investment project promotion seminar and online product showcase, as well as project-matching co-operation. During the PPRD Co-operation Chief Executive Joint Conference, leaders of the various provinces and regions signed the Joint Declaration of PPRD Strengthened Co-operation (2015-2025), a new guideline for the new round of PPRD collaboration. The organiser hopes that on the foundation of the co-operation over the past ten years, this PPRD region covering one-fifth of the total land area in the country, one-third of the national population and over one-third of its economic output will be developed into a PPRD economic community, with the ultimate goal of being included in the nation’s Thirteenth Five-Year Plan. As the origin of the ancient Maritime Silk Road the PPRD region will fully utilise the advantages and strengths of its geographical position of having close trade and economic co-operation with ASEAN and South Pacific countries, to cope with the important national strategy of developing the new Maritime Silk Road and promote partnership in six major areas including a co-ordination mechanism, construction of transportation routes, expanding trade and economic, tourism, social and cultural, and marine co-operation, and make greater contribution to the development of the nation.

The organiser also identified the new round of PPRD co-operation as “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Co-operation”, particularly to strengthen the collaboration of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao with the neighbouring provinces and regions. According to statistics, in 2013, trade volume between Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao amounted to US$400 billion, among which, trade volume between the nine PPRD provinces and Hong Kong and Macao amounted to US$300 billion, which has increased by two fold compared to 2004. Over the last ten years, over 30 pilot and trial implementation policies have been in place between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, covering 20 sectors such as finance, education, medical, transportation service, social services and e-commerce, providing an innovative experience and operation model for collaboration between the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. Following the commencement of the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and various major infrastructure projects, there is increasing cooperation between Macao and various new districts including Hengqin of Zhuhai, Nansha of Guangzhou, Cuiheng of Zhongshang, Daiguang Bay of Jiangmen under the Cooperation Framework Agreement between Guangdong and Macao which have created more business opportunities for enterprises in the region. The Forum also confirmed 31 priority supervisory and implementation projects, among which Macao participated in three projects including the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Hengqin Line of Macao’s Light Rail Transit system, as well as the Datengxia Gorge Hydropower Complex Project.

Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) organised a trade and economic delegation of 60 with representatives from Macao’s finance, trade, tourism, real estate, construction, logistics, convention and exhibition as well as hotel industries to participate in the seminar and related activities in Guangzhou and signed the Memorandum of Convention and Exhibition Strategic Co-operation between Yunnan and Macao with the Yunnan International Expo Affairs Bureau to strengthen collaboration between the two. IPIM’s President Jackson Chang said that strengthening regional co-operation and promoting moderate industrial diversification are the major direction of Macao’s SAR government policy. The convention and exhibition, cultural and creative, Chinese medicine, trade and business services, logistics and environmental industries are the emerging industries that will be the priority for development, as well as co-operation between Macao and PPRD provinces and regions. Nearly 100 co-operation projects have been signed by Macao trade and economic delegations over the past nine years, involving various sectors including infrastructure facilities, manufacturing, tourism, food and beverage, environmental and marketing. As the PPRD co-operation turns the page, Macao will continue to make full play of its role as a platform and provide services and assistance to Macao, PPRD and PSCs enterprises in business negotiations and matching.

The 10th PPRD Forum was divided into two stages, namely Preceding Activities (Macao) and the Main Forum (Guangzhou). The Preceding Activities included a thematic panel discussion, trade and economic projectmatching, as well as the 10th Anniversary of the PPRD Forum. The Main Forum included the opening ceremony, the exhibition of achievements on the 10th anniversary of the PPRD Forum, a High Level Forum, the Chief Executive Joint Conference, the Senior Officials meetings, as well as the Promotion of PPRD provinces and regions. Being the first conference of Preceding Activities of the 10th PPRD Forum, the Panel Discussion on the Economic Environment of Portuguese Speaking Countries, co-organised by IPIM and the Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province, was held in Macao in May. During the meeting, trade and economic departments of the 9+2 provinces and regions explored topics covering the prospects of trade and economic collaboration between the Pan-PRD region and PSCs. To further strengthen complementary strengths and resources, the Memorandum on the Framework of Enhancing Comprehensive Strategic Co-operation and Promoting PPRD and PSCs Trade and Economic Co-operation was signed.

EFFORTS TO PROMOTE MACAO’S PARTNERSHIP WITH OTHER MEMBERS IN THE PPRD REGION
On trade and economic collaboration, IPIM organises delegations to attend the PPRD Forum with the Chief Executive every year, sets up the Macao Pavilion, organises business matching sessions as well as trade and economic promotional activities between the PPRD Region and PSCs, to strengthen networking and partnerships in business, trade, investment, convention and exhibition, tourism and culture. Macao also participates in the annual Mayors’ Forum of Provincial Capital Cities in the Pan-Pearl River Delta, to strengthen liaison and collaboration with PPRD cities.

Chief Executive Chui Sai On and guests visit the exhibition of achievements on the 10th anniversary of the PPRD Forum
[Photo: Macao Government Information Bureau(GCS)]

The Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition (MIECF), hosted by the Macao SAR Government and co-organised by 10 provincial/regional governments of the PPRD region, receives enormous support from the PPRD region since its debut in 2008. It has become a major branded exhibition for environmental products in the region. Delegations led by PPRD provincial/regional leaders participated in the event annually and set up a themed pavilion to promote collaboration and development between Macao, PPRD region and overseas regions such as the EU through MIECF.

The Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF), hosted by IPIM, also receives the support and participation of various PPRD province and regions. They make use of MIF as an international trade and economic collaboration platform and assist local enterprises to market their products to PSCs and other overseas regions. MIF has recently become a partner exhibition with a number of PPRD major branded exhibitions and explores co-operation in mutual introduction and participation.

PSCs extends across four continents with a population of over 200 million, possess abundant natural resources and enormous markets thus resulting in great potential for development with the PPRD region. Since the inception of the PPRD Forum, IPIM has, on several occasions, worked with the trade and economic departments of Guangdong, Fujian and other PPRD provinces and regions in organising overseas activities to attract investment and promotional seminars and assisted PPRD enterprises to make use of the Macao platform to establish liaisons with PSC businesses. IPIM also co-operates with the provincial trade and economic authorities in Guangdong and Sichuan to organise entrepreneur delegations to participate in the Entrepreneurs Meeting for Commercial and Economic Co-operation between China and PSCs held annually in different PSCs countries.

To better utilise its role as a service platform and actively promote and assist Mainland businesses to participate in international economic collaboration, establish external economic exchanges, particularly under the framework of the China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic Co-operation Forum (Macao) and provide related services, Macao has been actively moving towards establishing three centres, namely “a commercial and trade service centre for SMEs between China and PSCs”, “a food product distribution centre for PSCs” and “a centre for conventions and exhibitions for economic and trade co-operation between China and PSCs”. It is believed to be advantageous to Macao’s ongoing roles as a trade and business service platform between China and PSCs and a regional business service platform, and promote the expansion of bilateral trade and investment between PPRD provinces/regions and the PSCs. IPIM will provide more custom-built services to enable enterprises go global and attract foreign investment, and jointly explore potential market and business opportunities.

It has been agreed that the PPRD Forum will be held once every two years from now onwards and the 11th PPRD Forum, co-organised by the provincial governments of Guangdong and Fujian, will be held in Guangzhou in 2016. The PPRD Co-operation Chief Executive Joint Conference will be held in 2015.

Chief Executive Chui Sai On and Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Chen Wu witness the signing of the co-operation summary of the meetings between Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Macao Special Administrative Regione
[Photo: Macao Government Information Bureau(GCS)]]