Macau Association of Banks (ABM) Chairman Ip Sio Kai suggested on Sunday that the government should focus on turning Macau into an international financial centre.
Ip made the proposal during a forum hosted by the Collective Wisdom Policy Centre at the Bank of China Building in Avenida Dr. Mario Soares. The forum gathered participants from various sectors to share expectations about Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On’s 2015 Policy Address.
Chui will deliver his policy address Monday afternoon during a plenary session of the Legislative Assembly (AL).
Ip proposed that the government should make the most of Macau’s advantages of being a special administrative region and encourage the financial sector’s development. He pointed out that Macau is a “natural free trade zone” with its low tax rate and economic freedoms. He also underlined that the city’s legislative framework and accounting standards are in line with international business practices, allowing Macau to become an international financial centre.
Last year, the central government set up the mainland’s first free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai.
According to Ip, Macau was one of the cities listed as a possible offshore financial centre by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) back in 2000.
Macau’s Offshore Law has been in effect since November 1999. The city’s offshore finance business is regulated and supervised by the Macau Monetary Authority (AMCM), while the regulation and supervision of offshore non-finance businesses is done by the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM).
Besides, Macau has been a free port since 1845. Articles 110 and 111 of the Macau Basic Law protect the city’s status as a free port and the government’s free trade policy.
Meanwhile, Macau Economic Association President Henry Lei Chun Kwok pointed out that as Macau is entering an economic “new normal”, the government should formulate new strategies to grow the non-gaming sectors, which would help diversify Macau’s economic growth.
Lei suggested that the government should lead the structural transformation process, systematically lessening the impact of the gaming sector on the city’s economy.
According to Lei, Macau’s economic “new normal” means that the city’s rapid economic growth brought about by the gaming sector has ended and that it will return to a more “stable and logical” economic growth.
He also urged the government to invest in non-gaming industries.