Central Gov’t to make big announcement concerning deeper Guangdong and Macau cooperation – CE

Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, said today (Thursday) that an important announcement involving deeper cooperation between Guangdong and Macau is expected to be made by the central government soon.

There have unconfirmed reports that the central government was preparing to announce some kind of joint management of the Hengqin New Area between the Macau SAR and Guangdong.

Questioned over this matter today after the 12th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF) opening ceremony, Ho only revealed that an announcement by his government would have to await a central government decision, but that “good news” are expected “if not this month, then in August”.

The CE also indicated that the overall economic situation of Macau is changing for the better, but that central authorities still hope the SAR can diversify its economy away from gaming.

“The pandemic shows how relying on a single industry has led to a deficit budget, which has affected many aspects of society. Macau must do a good job in a moderately diversified economic development,” the CE noted.

A total of MOP49 billion in gaming results was reported in the first six months of this year, a 45.4 per cent year-on-year rise, but in comparison to a 2020 year with record low gaming results as a result of the pandemic.

As for changes in the current cross-border policies and pandemic restrictions, Ho noted that at this stage, the National Health Commission does not allow Macau customs clearance measures to be too relaxed since the pandemic situation in the surrounding areas is still unstable.

“Guangdong and Macau have already reinstated the 7-day nucleic acid validity period for customs clearance. However, the Nanjing Airport now has cases. We do not have cases for more than 400 days but we need to be careful,” Ho added.

Seventeen airport workers in Nanjing, capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu province, have tested positive for Covid-19 as of July 21, with local authorities now demanding a 14-day quarantine for anyone who has been in the airport 14 days prior to entry.

This week Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U revealed that a team of experts from the National Health Commission will be invited to the Macau SAR to assess the local pandemic situation and help push forward with more convenient cross-border measures.