Trade between Chinese mainland, Macao quadruples in 2 decades, exceeds $44b
Published: Dec 20, 2020 10:28 PM

An aerial view of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.Photo:Xinhua

While traffic and logistics hurdles have weakened international trade and tourism, people in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) may feel the opposite when it comes to greater connections with the Chinese mainland, even in hard times. Experts suggested the Macao SAR can take advantage of the mainland's booming market and consumption capacity to achieve sustainable growth.

The city and the mainland have seen growing interaction this year. Just months ago came the launch of a mutually recognized health code in the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao region that enables people to move across the border with an exemption from 14-day quarantines. The health code has been used up to 38 million times so far.

Resilient personal interactions have greatly boosted progress in cooperation and investment for Macao companies to ride on the booming opportunities of the mainland amid the rapid market rebound.

The two places implemented a joint funding program for scientific and technological innovation. Construction of 24 projects in the Guangdong-Macao Cooperation Industrial Park in Hengqin, South China's Guangdong Province has started, according to the report by Zhuhai government on Sunday. 

"Due to the limited size of Macao itself, many Macao enterprises have now settled in the Hengqin free trade zone, which not only creates a new model of cooperation between Guangdong and Macao but also enables Macao to be a hub between the mainland and the world," Li Xiaobin, a Macao studies expert at Nankai University in North China's Tianjin, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Driven by the booming interaction, over the past 21 years since Macao's return to the motherland, the total mainland-Macao trade via Gongbei customs has exceeded 290 billion yuan ($44.37 billion). The volume of total trade in 2019 was 4.6 times that of 1999, with an average annual growth rate of 7.9 percent, according to data from Gongbei Customs in Gongbei, South China's Guangdong Province.

Despite the pandemic, in the first 11 months of this year, trade via Gongbei customs reached 12.57 billion yuan, of which 12.28 billion yuan was exported and 290 million yuan was imported, with the mainland becoming a major source of supplies.

"With improved trade facilitation, the mainland's medium-to-high-end products are gradually replacing Macao's imports from overseas and meeting locals' needs for its world-class quality and competitive prices," said Li.

Experts said that Macao should try to attract tourists from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area which can also give full play to the role of people-to-people exchanges of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

"Macao has always been waiting for visitors from the mainland but now it should be more active in promoting its regional tourism resources, which will offer the city more bonuses for growth against the backdrop of the global pandemic," said Li.

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