Macau | Business experts: CEPA Hong Kong-Macau another key step to Greater Bay Area integration

The new Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement Hong Kong-Macau (CEPA HK-Macau) will help the two regions to create synergies between the two regions’ economic areas of expertise and attract investors for projects on both sides, economy experts told Macau News Agency.

Macau (MNA) – “Hong Kong is an international financial center. Its real estate markets, logistics, airport, shipping, tourism, etc. are among the top around the world. Macau, on the other hand, specialises in the gaming industry and now diversifies more into the international integrated resorts that include hotels, tourism, entertainment, show business[…] Overall, the agreement will add government support to the market forces to speed up the economic developments in this region that will be an important part of the Greater Bay Area Economy,” Jacky Yuk-chow So, Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of Macau told MNA.

Signed on October 27, the CEPA HK-Macau will include the free movement of goods, the easing of customs and trade procedures and the opening-up of trade in services or cooperation in the field of intellectual property.

The agreement’s first phase will start from January 1 of 2018 and will focus on the opening up of services, with Hong Kong opening up 105 services to Macau, which will in return will open up 72 services to Hong Kong.

For Paul Tse, Chairman of the Macau Developers Association, since currently there is no import tax existing in Macau and Hong Kong at the moment, the CEPA agreement is more a way to “legalise and formalise” an already existing “arrangement” between the two cities.

“It’s important to have this signed to show residents, businesses and enterprises that there is a concerted effort of both SAR’s to proceed with economic and social integration in the Greater Bay Area,’ Paul Tse, Chairman of the Macau Developers Association told Macau News Agency.

According to Mr. Tse the gross domestic product of the Greater Bay Area is “already US$1.4 trillion” a “very significant number even when compared with the New York Bay Area”, especially when taking into consideration that in Guangdong province there “still are limitations in terms of customs and labour” with Hong Kong and Macau.

Joining forces

For Mr. So, the new CEPA Hong Kong-Macau will allow a “division of labour” for the two SAR’s to complement each other, with Hong Kong able to work with Macau in “promoting the RMB as an international currency” while Macau plays its role as a platform to help Hong Kong reach Portuguese-speaking countries.

In terms of investment, the business expert believes the agreement could see Macau join Hong Kong in investing in the Nansha financial area and in investing the entertainment park attractions, technology centres, and Chinese medicine park being developed in Hengqin.

The enforcement of the CEPA Hong Kong-Macau will also take place at the same time the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is expected to be concluded, with both experts seeing another plus factor for inter-SAR synergy.

“Most people expect the bridge competed for traffic in the end of 2017, however administrative and commercial arrangements are still being fixed […] In Macau we’re still building the 4,000 car park silo and the logistics centre, both on the artificial island,” Mr. Tse added.

Mr. Tse also considers that no matter whether the bridge is fully operational in the first or second quarter of 2018, it will always be a “key point” in the Pearl River Delta integration.