The official relations between Macao and the European Union (EU) was established in 1992 after the signing of the Macao-EC Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Macao has been maintaining good trade and economic co-operation with the EU after the establishment of the Macao SAR. The Macao Economic and Trade Office to the European Union set up by the Macao SAR in Brussels, the headquarters of the EU, has consolidated the relations between Macao and the EU.

According to the agreement, collaborations were established between Macao and the EU in various areas such as industries, investment, science and technology, energy, information and training. The EU-Macao Joint Committee was set up by the two sides and meets annually in turn in Macao and Brussels. The meeting reviews the implementation of the agreement as well as discussing about future development, and a total of 21 meetings have been held so far.

According to the statistical data of the European Commission, co-operation projects funded by the EU after the signing of the agreement included training for the tourism industry (1999-2001), European Studies Programme (1999-2001), Services Development Programme (1999-2001), Asia-Invest Programme (2001 and 2002), EU-Macao Legal Co-operation Programme (2001-2005), translation and interpretation training provided by the Directorate General for Interpretation of the European Commission (SCIC) with the funding from the SAR Government in 2006, a protocol signed for the 2nd EU-Macao Co-operation Programme in the Legal Field in 2009, European Union Business Information Programme (EUBIP) (2009-2012) and the European Union Academic Programme in Macao (EUAP-Macao) (2012). In November 2015, a memorandum of co-operation was signed between the SAR Government and the SCIC to continue the oragnisation of the Training Programme in Translation and Interpretation in Chinese and Portuguese. The Third Macao SAR-EU Co-operation Programme in the Legal Field was approved. In addition, Macao also announced the establishment of a matching fund to provide financial subsidies to MSAR’s research professionals in the participation of the EU’s Horizon 2020.

Co-operation projects between Macao and the EU also included the establishment of the Macao-Europe Centre for Advanced Tourism Studies (ME-CATS) and the Institute of European Studies of Macau (IEEM) in Macao. The Business Co-operation Centre of Enterprise Europe Network Central China Macao Office, formerly known as the Euro-Info Centre, has been providing European information for SMEs and entrepreneurs in Macao, Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta region as well as the neighbouring regions since its inception in 1992.

In October 2006, the European Commission released a Communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled “The European Union, Hong Kong and Macao: possibilities for co-operation 2007-2013”.

The EU is the second largest trading partner of Macao. In 2016, value of exports to the EU amounted to MOP175 million (around USD21 million), showing a decrease of 22.7% as compared to 2015. Value of imports from the EU amounted to MOP17.03 billion (around USD2.13 billion), showing a decrease of 9.5% as compared to 2015.

Source of information:

Macao Year Book 2016

Website of the Statistics and Census Service (www.dsec.gov.mo)