Off . . . side? | 30 doubts for 2019

The government has proposed the abolishment of a current offshore law in order to comply with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development standards regarding the treatment of offshore firms under Macau SAR law.

This abolishment will affect approximately 360 companies supporting a total staff of 1,700 – but what will the impact on the local economy be? If, as a group of workers of these companies says, many will opt for closure, we are likely to see the first signs as early as 2019. 

The abolishment would mean that current offshore enterprises will only be allowed to run offshore institutions with a special tax-free status, as well as exemption of stamp duty, until June 2021. Some will close (or relocate), while others will adapt to local rules to continue operating in Macao. But it is certain that we will have decisions already next year. 

MEPs Lei Chan U and Lam Lon Wai expect the government to hear the sector and address a number of problems that may arise once the law comes into force. MEPs have also asked the government to properly deal with central welfare issues, compensation for release of employees, and training to help them change jobs. 

In recent years few companies have settled in Macau under this law and, on the contrary, many have closed, making the law almost obsolete, even before its discontinuity is formally announced.