Macao – the Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries

Based on the historical ties, Macao has established close and extensive connections with the Portuguese-speaking Countries spanning across four continents and cover a total population of 260 million, thus playing the role as a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries. The Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (the Forum) has been held in Macao for five times since 2003 and a permanent secretariat has been set up in the city.  With the increasing trade and business co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, bilateral trade between the two sides amounted to a total of USD90.9 billion in 2016, equivalent to 9 times of the trade volume recorded when the Forum was first held in 2003.

In October 2016, leaders of China and PSCs attended the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Forum held in Macao and signed the Strategic Plan for Economic and Trade Co-operation (2017-2019). The strategic plan explicitly identified the priority areas and development directions of the trade and economic co-operation between China and PSCs for the subsequent three years.  During the meeting, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang announced the promulgation of various new measures in support of Macao’s development as a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, such as relocating the Headquarters of the China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund to Macao, supporting Macao to develop financial services platform targeting on China and PSCs, to establish the Association of Enterprise Directors of China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, Centre for Cultural Exchanges between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, Chinese-Portuguese bilingual talent training base and the Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, as well as the set up of the Complex of Commerce and Trade Co-operation Platform for China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.

The Opening of the Headquarters of the China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund and Signing Ceremony was held on 1 June 2017, signifying that the Headquarters has settled in Macao. In October 2016, trade promotion organisations in Mainland China, Macao and PSCs participated in the inauguration of the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Federation of Entrepreneurs and signed co-operation agreements. Upon completion, the Complex of Commerce and Trade Co-operation Platform for China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, covering a total of 14,200 square metres and a construction area of 50,000 square metres, will become the venue for the Forum in future. PSCS products and food products exhibition centre, enterprise service centre, training centre, trade an economic relations and culture exhibition halls will also be set up in the Complex.

Macao continues to engage in the development of the Three Centres, namely a commercial and trade service centre for SMEs of PSCs, a food product distribution centre for PSCs, a centre for conventions and exhibitions for economic and trade co-operation between China and PSCs The Macao SAR Government is working on the orderly implementation of the Three Centres through a series of online and offline services, as well as providing support to Mainland and PSCs enterprises and investors in business exploration and co-operation.

Macao is a capitalist society with a free port and a separate customs territory. It adopts simple and low taxation system, with a Complementary Tax rate of not more than 12%. Macao’s public administration structure and legal system are based on those of Portugal, similar to the public administration and legal regime of other PSCs which facilitate the understanding of respective systems between China and PSCs. With Chinese and Portuguese being the official language, contracts and agreements of enterprises are prepared and signed in Chinese and Portuguese.  The enormous amount of bilingual professional in Macao provide translation, accounting and legal services to Mainland and PSCs enterprises in commercial negations and co-operation. After years of efforts, Macao’s role as a platform between China and PSCs has obtained international recognition and continues to promote cultural exchange, trade and investment, enterprise co-operation between China and PSCs, as well as providing support to China in “going global” and “attracting investment”.