On the last of his three-day inspection visit to Macau, Premier Li Keqiang elaborated on 19 measures to support Macau’s development, including the implementation by the end of this year of a policy to allow Macau-registered vehicles to enter Hengqin Island, as well as the implementation by June 30 next year of a policy to allow both Macau-registered and Guangdong-registered yachts to dock in each other’s marinas.
According to previous news reports, Zhongshan will be the first pilot city in Guangdong province for the yacht scheme.
Li revealed on Monday that the central government had recently launched 19 measures to support Macau’s development, on the first day of his visit. He did not elaborate on the measures then.
Most of the measures aim to enable a higher level of economic integration with the mainland as well as to diversify the city’s economy.
Li announced details of the 19 measures during a meeting on Wednesday morning with civil society representatives at the Macau East Asian Games Dome in Cotai.
Apart from the representatives, members of the central government delegation and senior local officials also attended the meeting. The meeting, chaired by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, had about 200 attendees. His predecessor Edmund Ho Hau Wah was also in attendance.
The initial schedule was that the local government arranged for three representatives to give Li suggestions. After replying to the suggestions given by the three representatives, Li said he had time to listen to more suggestions. Eventually, another two participants provided Li with their suggestions.
Li gave an opening speech before listening to the representatives’ suggestions. It was during his closing speech that Li announced the content of the 19 measures.
The support package also includes supporting Macau in the organisation of the Global Tourism Economy Forum every year and supporting the establishment of a yuan clearing house for Portuguese-speaking countries (PSCs) in the city, according to Li.
The Global Tourism Economy Forum has been held in Macau annually since 2012.
The measures also include the central government agreeing to the establishment of the headquarters of the Co-operation and Development Fund between China and PSCs in Macau; supporting Macau to transform itself into a smart city; improving border checkpoint procedures, customs inspection and food quarantine measures between the city and the mainland, according to Li.
The measures also include supporting Macau to transform itself into “three centres”, namely a centre for food products from PSCs, a business-service centre for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SEMs) from China and PSCs, and a convention and exhibition centre for trade co-operation between China and PSCs, according to Li.
One measure is to support the construction of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) centre in Macau, Li said.
The measures also include supporting Macau to develop its marine economy; supporting Macau to play an important role in the Pan Pearl River Delta (PPRD) Regional Co-operation mechanism, according to Li.
One measure is that the central government will encourage Macau to participate when the central government is drafting national development strategies, Li said.
Another measure is that the central government will study the feasibility of allowing Macau to collaborate with the Silk Road Fund, the Industrial Co-operation Fund between China and Latin America, and the Industrial Co-operation Fund between China and Africa, according to Li.
The measures also include supporting local SMEs and young people to grasp the opportunities created by the rapid development of e-commerce.
Another measure is to support Macau to create a number of “branded” conventions and exhibitions that are “internationally influential”.
Other measures are to promote co-operation in science and technology and innovation between Macau and the mainland, and to promote collaboration between e-commerce companies in the mainland and local companies, according to Li.
Meanwhile, during his opening speech, Li said that he had fulfilled his “long-cherished wish” to visit Macau.
Reiterating that Macau is a “beautiful” place, Li said there had been a huge change in the city in recent years, adding that the city had achieved remarkable success.
During his concluding speech, Li pointed out that Macau’s gross domestic product (GDP) has declined by a “rather” large amount in recent years, due to its heavy reliance on a single industry.
Commenting that there was high hope for Macau, Li underlined there was still a government fiscal surplus despite the economic downturn, adding that residents’ livelihood was constantly improving.
Li stressed the importance of diversifying the city’s economy. Li pointed out that the decline in gaming revenues has dragged down the local economy, adding that Macau’s economic downturn in recent years had made the city realise that its economy needed to be diversified. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, Li said.
After the meeting with representatives from various sectors of society, Li had a meeting with local principal officials at the dome, before leaving Macau.
Li arrived at the local airport at about 11 a.m. and made a farewell speech before boarding the Air China aircraft.
Li said that he learnt during his visit that Macau was still able to record successive years of fiscal surpluses and achieved full employment despite the possible challenges posed by the recent global economic downturn and by the economic restructuring being undertaken in the city’s economy.
“[Macau] has a well-developed economy, a peaceful society and has improved the livelihood of its residents. This shows the successful implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle”, Li said.
Pointing out that historically Macau used to be nation’s gateway, Li said that for a long time Macau has been a platform for co-operation between China and PSCs, which had helped the city achieve moderate economic diversification.
Moreover, Li said he had felt during his visit how much Macau compatriots “love the country and love Macau” and how “ambitious”they are.
“I believe Macau will be able to develop even better. Macau will play an important role in the nation’s opening up to the world. The central government will continue to support the chief executive and the Macau Special Administrative Region government in administering Macau in accordance with the law”, Li said.
“Macau’s future will be even better!” Li stressed.
Asked by reporters whether he would visit Macau again, Li said: “I shall!”
Apart from the 19 support measures for Macau, Li also announced during his visit 18 support measures for the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.
In total, the premier announced 37 support measures during his first visit to Macau.
(Macau News / The Macau Post Daily)