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Macau: Diversifying external trade

The Legislative Assembly of Macau is analysing the proposal to amend the External Trade Law (Law 7/2003 of June 23 2015)

Pedro CortésMarta Mourão
The Legislative Assembly of Macau is analysing the proposal to amend the External Trade Law (Law 7/2003 of June 23 2015).

Macau implemented the general principles of external trade and the regime of entry, exit and passage of goods through its territory more than 10 years ago. However, global changes in the economic and business environment and the increasing integration of economic and trade cooperation, both internationally and regionally, demand a regime review to further promote and facilitate external trade.

The convention and exhibition sector is deemed to be essential to diversify the economy of Macau. With the development of this sector, the volume of goods temporarily imported to Macau is increasing significantly and is expected to further increase in the near future.

For this reason, the proposal to amend the External Trade Law includes the incorporation of the ATA carnet related to the temporary admission of goods. This means that the international customs document will be combined with the external trade legal regime. The ATA carnet system provides duty-free access to temporary import and export of goods.

Other subjects included in this proposal relate to the facilitation of customs clearance and the simplification of its procedures, including the clearance of goods prior to a customs declaration. According to the explanatory memorandum that was presented in the plenary session, these steps will contribute to a better business environment in Macau and will consolidate the central position of Macau in regional development.

This proposal, which was already approved in general terms with no votes against it, seems to be in line with the general opinion that Macau's economy must be strategically diversified. The simplification of procedures will not only attract new projects related to conventions and exhibitions but will also enhance the volume of trade of goods with neighbouring regions. This will allow Macau to keep pace with regional development and to take opportunities that will be created when the Zhuhai-Macau-Hong Kong bridge is ready to operate.

Pedro Cortés and Marta Mourão

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