The Supplement IV to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA5), implemented as of this year, will see the Chinese mainland lower the threshold for investment from the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) in 17 industries, which is expected to boost the SAR's trade and business development, especially the convention and exhibition sector.
Under CEPA5, the Chinese mainland will further open its markets to Macao's investors in such fields as convention and exhibition, tourism, human resources, insurance, and privately-owned business, while another 11 industries will also be added to the list of opening, according to a report by the Macao Daily News, a major local Chinese-language newspaper.
The mainland authorities will eliminate restrictions on investment and shareholding, which means Macao's investors will enjoy lower registered capital and qualification, and wider ranges for investment and business operations, the report said.
CEPA5 was signed by the Chinese mainland and the two SARs of Hong Kong and Macao on June 29, 2007. By far, the implementation of CEPA, has granted Hong Kong and Macao investors market access in 38 industries in the Chinese mainland.
As for the convention and exhibition industry, which Macao hopes to develop in a bid to diversify its gaming-led economy, more favored treatment from the mainland authorities will expedite its development process.
CEPA5 will allow Macao operators to hold exhibitions in China's Guangdong Province and Shanghai through cross-border payment, and the operators are also granted the permission to provide exhibition services outside the mainland to registered companies from Guangdong and Shanghai.
"CEPA5 will benefit Macao's convention and exhibition industry as companies from Shanghai and Guangdong are allowed to hold exhibitions in the SAR," said Ho Hoi Ming, president of the Macao Convention and Exhibition Association, adding that the latest Macao International Trade and Investment Fair has seen many participating companies from the neighboring Guangdong.
Statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce showed that thanks to CEPA, the trade volume between Macao and the Chinese mainland in the first 11 months of 2007 amounted to 2.66 billion US dollars, up 20.7 percent year-on-year, while Macao saw its export to the mainland soar 9.9 percent to 260 million US dollars.
Therefore, Ho said, if the mainland authorities can further open its markets in other coastal provinces like Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and even China's capital Beijing, Macao will be able to build on its role as a business and trade platform between the mainland and the world markets, especially those of the Portuguese-speaking nations.
In addition to the convention and exhibition industry, many Macao businessmen also see new opportunities in other fields as the mainland market further opens.
"The implementation of CEPA will provide Macao businessmen with better access to the mainland market and the convenience of expanding their operations," said Li Kuo Hui, a local businessman and president of the International Logistics and Forwarding Association of Macao. He registered a logistics company in the mainland last year.
But he pointed out that despite the rich resources in the mainland market, Macao companies still have to face fierce competition, and their operations must be adapted to the laws and regulations in the mainland which are different from the SAR.
By far, the mainland authorities have ratified 11,480 investment projects from Macao, with a total investment value of 7.49 billion US dollars, according to official statistics.
(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2008)