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Relations between the European Union (EU) and the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) are based on common values, a European heritage and a shared interest in areas such as the economy, the environment, education and culture. These relations have developed under the framework of the Agreement for Trade and Cooperation signed in 1992 between the EU and Macao.
Under the Agreement for Trade and Cooperation, the EU and Macao hold regular Joint Committee meetings to review recent developments in their relationship, take stock of current cooperation activities and explore new areas for cooperation. The most recent Joint Committee meeting was held in Brussels in June 2019, about which a Joint Press Statement was released.
The EU is working with the Macao Government to diversify its economy, improve the sustainability of its economic development and promote bilateral trade and investment.
The EU is Macao’s second largest supplier after China, providing one-fourth of its imports in goods in 2018. However, the EU was the destination of less than 1.7% of Macao’s export of goods. These trade imbalances have generated long-standing trade surpluses in favour of the EU, as Macao’s import demand has continued to grow over the years, while its manufacturing sector has been shrinking.
Bilateral trade in goods rose by almost 30% to EUR 963 million in 2018. EU exports to Macao reached EUR 852 million, a 36% increase year-on-year, resulting in a trade surplus of EUR 741 million. However, compared to other major investors (Hong Kong, China and the US), direct investment by EU companies in Macao remains modest. Portugal was the most notable EU investor in Macao, accounting for 3.7% (MOP 9 billion) of total direct investment stock in 2017.
The business opportunities in the gambling and tourism industry are central to EU-Macao trade relations. Macao is also a growing market for European luxury goods. Procurement in the transportation, energy and construction sectors is also potentially of interest to EU companies since Macao is engaged in an increasing number of infrastructure projects.