Relations between Macao 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 300 million. 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. Meanwhile, Macao has played its unique advantages as a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (referred to below “China and PSCs Platform”).
Since the establishment of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (referred to below as ‘Forum Macao’) in 2003, five Ministerial Conferences and an Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of Forum Macao have been convened here in the city. In 2004 the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao was established in Macao to execute and implement the resolutions approved at the conference.
With the support of the Central Government, the China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund is headquartered in Macao and the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Federation of Entrepreneurs in Macao was founded in the city. The Complex of Commerce and Trade Co-operation Platform for China and Portuguese-speaking Countries has officially opened and the setting up of the three centres, namely a PSCs food distribution centre, a convention and exhibition centre for PSCs economic co-operation, and an SME service centre for PSCs, is making rewarding progress. In the meantime, measures including the building of a China-PSCs financial service platoform, a RMB clearing centre for PSCs, a China-PSCs cultural exchange centre, youth innovation and entrepreneurship exchange centre, China-PSCs bilingual training base are being gradually implemented, strengthening Macao’s function as a China-PSCs platform. The city has now basically become a comprehensive service platform with economic co-operation service at its centre, synergised with multiple areas including research and development, traditional Chinese medicine, cultural tourism, conventions and exhibitions, finance and youth entrepreneurship.
When President Xi Jinping visited the Complex, he said that the setting up of the commercial and trade co-operation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries is a significant measure for Macao to give full play to its strengths and contribute to the country’s development. According to the development strategy of the country’s 14th “Five-Year Plan”, the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Macao SAR’s 2nd “Five-Year Plan”, the SAR Government will accelerate the development of the China-PSCs platform’s function. In the meantime, as the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Co-operation Zone in Hengqin is developing steadily, it brings about even more possibilities for the China-PSCs platform, in particular, the new elements in the Co-operation Zone will further enrich the platform. The two regions will jointly craft an important meeting hub for the country’s “international and domestic economic dual circulation”. Macao will practically be ready and integrate itself into the country’s “dual circulation” economic development, and serve as a bridge for the multi-lateral co-operation between the mainland, Macao and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Last updated in March 2023
Attachment: Portuguese speaking countries economic data in 2022