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Macao to Solicit Opinions on Closer Trade Link to Mainland
The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government will extensively hear business people's opinions on the drafting of the Mainland/Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), said Francis Tam Pak Yuen, secretary for Economy and Finance, Thursday.

The Mainland/Macao CEPA pact is expected to bring similar benefits to Macao as that to Hong Kong, whose CEPA deal with the Chinese Mainland was signed on June 29 in Hong Kong. The benefits include zero tariff on hundreds of items of Macao-made products to go into the Mainland and a green light of Macao's private investment in some of the Mainland's service sectors.

Tam said that Macao's CEPA talks with the Mainland began in July, and the SAR government hoped it can catch the same agenda of Hong Kong's CEPA, and go into effect together on Jan. 1, 2004.

Macao's CEPA drafting will start from articles on logistics distribution to those on trade in service and investment. The whole hearing procedure will take three to four months of time, he said.

Macao's CEPA articles will be based on the version between the Mainland and Hong Kong while taking into consideration Macao's own practices, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2003)

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