A new chapter has been opened in relations between Macao and Guangdong following a visit by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng and a top-level delegation last week.
Ho attended a formal meeting with Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Secretary Li Xi and Governor Wang Weizhong.
During the initial meeting, Ho said that Macao is maintaining its overall stability, and has made considerable achievements regarding Covid-19 prevention and control.
However, Ho acknowledged, Macao has been facing economic pressure, due to a significant drop in the number of visitors, arising from the global environment and the pandemic situation. As the pandemic is subsiding in mainland China, Ho said he was upbeat about Macao’s gradual economic recovery by the second half of this year and raised the possibility of reducing quarantine to seven days once again.
Regarding the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, Ho said that Guangdong and Macao have discussed many practical issues, and made joint efforts, with a common goal of integrating their respective systems with the zone.
Meanwhile, the two sides have been working together to develop the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). On behalf of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and the Guangdong Provincial Government, Li said that Guangdong will seize the opportunity to develop the Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, and further the province’s cooperation with Macao.
He also said he hoped that Guangdong and Macao will enhance their joint Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control measures; and deepen cooperation in various fields such as traditional Chinese medicine research, development and production; modern financial services; science and technology research and development; high-end manufacturing; culture and tourism, convention and exhibitions, and commercial and trade industries.
Ho attended a panel meeting with Wang to exchange views on the highlights of work in the next phase of cooperation, especially in terms of expediting the construction of the intensive cooperation zone in Hengqin, and the measures regarding the movement of goods under either the “first-tier” of relaxed administration, or the “second-tier” of stricter customs control.
Ho stressed that Guangdong and Macao should enforce pandemic prevention and control, whilst facilitating border crossing for travellers and boosting economic activities.
Ho said that Guangdong and Macao must continue to collaborate in all areas, including through joint consideration of further cooperation in cross-border transportation, civil servant training and talent importation.
Following the initial progress in the establishment of the intensive cooperation zone in Hengqin, both sides should continue following the Four New Strategic Positions and the Four New Missions prescribed in the zone’s general development plan.
According to Ho, the aim is to explore reforms in taxation policies; develop major projects; and attract to the intensive cooperation zone professionals and other talented people from mainland China and abroad; and deal with other major issues that would support continued optimisation of the new system via mutual discussions. Ho said the goal is to promote joint construction, joint administration, and shared benefits from the intensive cooperation zone.
Wang said that Guangdong will accelerate the implementation of major innovative policies, and preferential measures related to personal income tax and business income tax, adding that Guangdong will also solicit further investments in Guangdong-Macao cooperative projects; and develop a new batch of major innovative projects and industries, with the aim of facilitating Macao’s economic diversification.
Guangdong will actively promote talent exchanges and collaboration, and explore the development of civil servant training and of exchange mechanisms, in order to support human resources for the development of the in-depth cooperation zone, Wang added.
Guangdong will also expedite arrangements regarding the entry of Macao-registered vehicles to the mainland, and perfect the quota mechanism for border-crossing transport services, Wang said, adding that this will be for the convenience of Guangdong and Macao residents wishing to make cross-boundary trips.
Wang added that Guangdong will continue to implement Covid-19 prevention and control measures. The province will also continue deepening exchanges and cooperation in financial services, education, youth innovation and entrepreneurship matters, in order to promote social and economic development, and to improve people’s livelihoods in Guangdong and Macao, The Macau Post Daily reported.