Member of the Politburo Standing Committee and Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, Li Keqiang visited Macao from 10th to 12th October. During his visit, the Premier announced a further 19 measures from the Central Government designed to drive the development of Macao's economy.
More Measures to Support Macao
The 19 announced measures include support for Macao to host annually the Global Tourism Economy Forum; support for Macao to develop as a renminbi clearing centre for Portuguese-speaking countries and for the setting up of a system for trade credit insurance involving those countries; Macao to be the headquarters of the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund; support for Macao to develop as a 'smart city' in relation to information technology; to optimise capacity for Customs clearance and quarantine inspection between the Mainland and Macao; to support Macao as it continues to develop its 'Three Centres' role; and to support the development of a centre of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and China's health authorities, as well as the development of the Guangdong-Macao Traditional Chinese Medicine Science and Technology Industrial Park in Hengqin New Area on Hengqin Island; and strengthening Macao's management role regarding its territorial waters in addition to pushing forward development of Macao's maritime economy.
Measures also facilitate the role of Macao in Pan-PRD areas and encourage industries in the PRD region to invest in Macao, with a number of initiatives to be implemented including: implementation before 30th June 2017 of a scheme for free exercise of yachting linking Guangdong and Macao; implementing before year-end a measure to enable Macao-registered vehicles to enter Hengqin Island in Zhuhai Prefecture; the Central Government will directly assist in promoting Macao's bridging role connecting China and Portuguese-speaking countries. The enhancement of that role will include a greater part for Macao in relation to: Central Government-stipulated development strategies; and the organisation of large-scale events involving external as well as internal exchanges. The Central Government will also closely study what role Macao can play in initiating projects with the Silk Road Fund; in relation to industrial co-operation between China and Latin America; and in relation to the China-Africa Industrial Co-operation Fund.
String of Measures to Support Macao's Role as Springboard
Li Keqiang also mentioned that the 19 measures support the economic development of Macao, serving as a springboard for co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. Li also hopes Macao can give full play to its unique strengths in the nation's continuing economic reform and liberalization.
In addition, the Prime Minister participated in the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries held in the international meeting centre of the Macau East Asian Games Dome on 11th October. Li announced 18 new measures to support the Forum with greater strength.
The new measures include: providing Asian and African Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum with grants worth RMB2 billion to support these countries with their livelihood projects of key interest such as agricultural development, trade and investment facilitation, malaria prevention and treatment and research on traditional medicines; providing Asian and African Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum with concessional loans worth no less than RMB 2 billion to promote industry connections and capacity co-operation with these countries and to further strengthen co-operation in infrastructure development; the write-off of RMB500 million of due interest-free loans of Asian and African Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum; continuing to dispatch medical teams of 200 person-times to Asian and African Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum; deepening healthcare exchanges and co-operation with Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum, supporting Chinese hospitals to develop partnerships with hospitals in these countries, and executing healthcare programmes for women and children as well as free clinic treatment projects.
Training opportunities for 2,000 trainees from Portuguese-speaking countries will be offered to countries participating in the Forum; Chinese Government scholarships of 2,500 person-years will be offered to candidates from Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum; companies will be encouraged to establish or upgrade economic and trade co-operation zones in Portuguese-speaking countries, boosting the industrialization of Asian and African Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum; Asian and African Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the Forum will be helped to develop facilities such as marine meteorological observatories to respond to marine disasters and climate change challenges; support will be extended to the Macao SAR to develop a financial services platform, the Association of Enterprise Directors, the Centre for Cultural Exchanges, bilingual talent training base, and the Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre targeting China and Portuguese-speaking countries.