The People's Republic of China (China) and the Macau Special
Administrative Region of the PRC (Macau) signed, on October 17
2003, the Mainland and Macau Closer Economic Partnership
Arrangement (CEPA). The purpose of this agreement, which is an
FTA-like arrangement concluded between two separate customs
territories of a single sovereign state, is to promote the
joint economic prosperity and development of China and Macau,
as well as to enhance the level of economic and trade
cooperation between them. Moreover, CEPA is an open agreement,
that is, its contents can be continuously deepened, enriched or
amended, according to the economic needs of the two parties. In
this regard, over the past decade, 10 supplements to CEPA have
been signed, the last of which – Supplement X to CEPA
– was signed on August 30 2013, and will come into
effect on January 1 2014.
CEPA covers mainly three areas of trade, including trade in
goods, trade in services, and trade and investment
facilitation. The focus of Supplement X to CEPA is placed, to a
great extent, on trade in services. In fact, China has agreed
to implement 65 new measures in relation to Macau, which
translates as a broadening of the preferential market access in
the province of Guangdong given to Macau service sectors,
including legal services, banking services and financial
(securities) services. In addition, new facilities will be
awarded in the field of funeral services.
As a result of said preferential market access, Macau
service suppliers are provided with an earlier access to the
Chinese market, ahead of the timetable China has committed to
the WTO. In some sectors, such as audiovisual services,
transport services, and hospital services, the concessions are
in fact more favourable than those of China's WTO
Another important amendment introduced by Supplement X to
CEPA is the loosening of market restrictions in the Province of
Fujian. Macau service providers are now permitted to establish
in mainland China commercial stations of light (passenger)
vehicles, with the capital percentage held not exceeding 49%.
The traffic and transport authorities of the province of Fujian
are responsible for carrying out the authorisation requests.
Finally, the new supplement enhances cooperation with respect
to intellectual property rights.
In conclusion, Supplement X to CEPA is yet another step
towards the liberalisation of trade in services between China
and Macau. However, in order to plainly achieve such
liberalisation, yet further steps must be taken.
Pedro Cortés, Marta Mourão Teixeira and
Nuno Soares da Veiga