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The 22nd EU- Macao Joint Committee meeting was held in Macao on 23 March 2018, in accordance with Article 16 of the EC-Macao Trade and Co-operation Agreement of 15 December 1992. This was the sixteenth annual meeting since China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).
This meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Leong Vai Tac, Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Macao SAR Government and Mr. Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director of the European External Action Service for Asia and the Pacific. Both sides underscored the importance of this bilateral meeting, which offers an effective platform to conduct fruitful exchanges on topics of common interest.
During the meeting, the Macao SAR and the EU updated each other on the latest developments of their political situations and their economies. Macao SAR informed the EU of the state of play of the implementation of the Five-Year Development Plan of the Macao SAR (2016-2020), which sets out the blueprint for the economic and social development of the SAR. The EU side outlined its most relevant political and economic developments and informed Macao SAR of its priorities going forward. The EU updated Macao SAR on the economic recovery in Europe, where the European economy is outperforming expectations and the robust growth is set to continue in all member states. Unemployment and deficits continue to fall and investment is rising in a meaningful way. Macao SAR briefed the EU about the Greater Bay Area and explained the role of the Macao SAR in such initiative. The EU was interested in exploring co-operation avenues with Macao for the development of the Greater Bay Area. Macao SAR also informed the EU of the most recent developments in the co-operation with Portuguese-speaking countries.
As regards policy and regulatory matters, the EU and Macao SAR exchanged views on the developments of their taxation policies. In particular, the parties took stock of the ongoing monitoring of the commitments taken by the Macao SAR to address the EU concerns under the screening of third countries and jurisdictions' taxation policies and practices. The parties also exchanged views on recent developments in the area of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing. In addition, Macao SAR provided an update on the review of the government procurement regime.
On EU-Macao co-operation, both sides welcomed the smooth progress of the Third Macao-EU Co-operation Programme in the Legal Field, aimed at promoting the modernisation and development of the Macao SAR’s legal system. The EU and Macao SAR agreed that the continuation of the training programme in conference interpretation and translation in Chinese and Portuguese would meet the demand of the EU and Macao SAR for qualified interpreters for both languages. The EU also noted Macao SAR’s efforts in combating human trafficking, and both sides looked forward to reinforcing their co-operation in this area.
The EU took note of Macao SAR’s ambition to become a traditional Chinese medicine hub. It was agreed to organise an information exchange at expert level on the EU regulatory regime with regard to traditional herbal medicinal products. The two sides also agreed to continue exploring co-operation on environment and green technology, particularly in the Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum and Exhibition (MIECF). On tourism, the two sides discussed how to boost tourist flows and exchanges and how to maximise the impact of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) to be held in Macao in October 2018, where the EU will be "Official Partner ". The parties agreed also to co-operate under the EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY) 2018, with Macao committed and well placed to play a major role in this initiative.
Finally, the EU and Macao SAR reaffirmed their commitment to maintain close contacts through the established channels and to continue to foster co-operation in priority fields of mutual interest.