Fourteen years after the launch of the Mainland and Macau Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in 2004, the economic and trade cooperation between mainland China and Macau continues to be strengthened and enriched. Since 2016, a series of amendments have been introduced to CEPA to improve and update the existing provisions, in particular in the fields of trade services, trading of goods, investment and economic and technical cooperation.
As part of these efforts, two agreements were signed in December 2017: the Investment Agreement (Notice of Chief Executive 35/2018, announced in the Official Gazette); and the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation (Notice of Chief Executive 36/2018, also announced in the Official Gazette), introducing a new phase in the economic and trade cooperation between the PRC and Macau. The Investment Agreement covers the matters of admission of investments and investment protection and facilitation, whereas liberalisation of access to the market for investment is now extended to non-services sectors. Investors from Macau benefit from national treatment and most-favoured nation treatment. This means that, on the one hand, investors from Macau enjoy the same treatment as PRC investors and are subject to the same laws and regulations that apply to investors from the PRC (except for those related to certain listed sectors, such as investment in the areas of exclusive economic zones). On the other hand, it also means that any preferential treatment given by the PRC to investments and investors from other countries or regions will be extended to Macau should that treatment be more beneficial to the Macau investors and investments than that offered under CEPA.
The Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation reinforces the unique status of Macau as the platform for commercial and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries (PSCs). This agreement extends the cooperation to two new major cooperation areas: legal and dispute resolution, and accounting. The aim of creating and promoting arbitration centres in Macau for the resolution of commercial disputes between China and PSCs is expressly provided in this agreement. The Macau Legislative Assembly is now considering reforming the local arbitration framework.
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