The 23rd EU-Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Joint Committee meeting was held in Brussels on 11 June 2019, in accordance with Article 16 of the EC-Macao Trade and Cooperation Agreement of 15 December 1992. This was the seventeenth annual meeting since the handover in 1999.
The Joint Committee offers an effective platform to comprehensively review topics of common interest and gives further impetus to even closer EU-Macao cooperation.
During the meeting, the Macao SAR and the EU updated each other on the latest political and economic developments. The EU informed the Macao SAR that the European economy is showing resilience in the face of a less favourable external environment, including trade tensions. Growth is set to continue in all EU Member States and increase next year, supported by robust domestic demand, steady employment gains and low financing costs. The Macao SAR informed the EU of the state of implementation of its Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020), which sets out the blueprint for the economic and social development of the SAR, and updated the EU on its efforts to diversify the economy. The Macao SAR also debriefed the EU on the regional integration developments under the Greater Bay Area, highlighting the role of the Macao SAR in such initiative. The EU is interested in exploring cooperation avenues with Macao for the development of the Greater Bay Area. Macao SAR also informed the EU of recent developments in its cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries, where significant achievements have been made in culture exchange, international education and talent training, Traditional Medicine registration, multilateral trade of the Traditional Medicine and health industry.
As regards policy and regulatory matters, the EU and the Macao SAR exchanged views on their taxation policies. The EU and Macao have enjoyed good cooperation on tax good governance issues over the past year, which also saw Macao reform its tax system. Dialogue will continue in view of the ongoing development of relevant international and EU standards. The EU and Macao also exchanged views on issues of shared interest such as government procurement; the fight against money laundering and against counter financing of terrorism; environmental matters, and multilateral cooperation to uphold the World Trade Organisation.
On EU-Macao co-operation, participants discussed possible continuation of the EU-Macao Cooperation Programme in the Legal Field, aimed at promoting the modernisation and development of the Macao SAR’s legal system. The EU and the Macao SAR agreed that the continuation of the training programme in conference interpretation and translation in Chinese and Portuguese would meet the ongoing demand of the Macao SAR for qualified interpreters for both languages. The Macao SAR also presented a proposal concerning marketing and development of the Traditional Medicine and health industry. The EU and the Macao SAR looked forward to continuing cooperation in the area of fight against trafficking of human beings.
On tourism, positive cooperation during the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year, in particular for the EU-Macao Bridge of Light illumination, part of the EU-China Light Bridge, as well as EU being the Partner Region of the Global Tourism Economy Forum 2018, sets the tone for further collaboration.
The EU and the Macao SAR concluded by reaffirming their commitment to maintain close contacts through the established channels and to continue to foster cooperation in priority fields of mutual interest.
This meeting was co-chaired by Ms Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director of the European External Action Service for Asia and the Pacific and Mr Leong Vai Tac, Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Macao SAR Government. The next Joint Committee Meeting is scheduled to take place in Macao in 2020.