External Trade Law amendment

The Executive Council has announced that the draft bill on amendments to the city’s current External Trade law, suggesting any trade activities via ATA carnet, an international customs and temporary export-import document, should be regulated in this legal scheme. In addition, the bill proposes allowing merchandisers clear customs prior to customs declaration.
The government has indicated that the development of the MICE industry has boosted the amount of merchandise imported to Macau. These goods, however, are re-exported from Macau not long after. As such, the government believes that the future implementation of such amendments will integrate the current administrative procedures of different parts of the city’s foreign trade.
“Everyone should know that Macau obeys the principle of free trade. We hope that by improving the external trade law, the process of our work in [foreign trade] will also improve,” said Council spokesperson Leong Heng Teng.
Mr. Leong also said that such amendments could attract more international MICE projects to consider Macau a destination in addition to encouraging the local MICE industry to step up to global market [expectations] and break new ground to enhance the development of the industry.
Currently, according to official information from ATA Carnet, such a document, also known as ‘Merchandise Passports’ or ‘Passports for Goods’, is used to clear customs in 84 countries and territories without paying duty and import tax on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months.
In fact, according to the spokesman, the city has seen the number of such ATA carnet users increase in the past four years.
“The use of ATA carnet has been increasing in Macau in recent years. [Initially], there were only 29 cases using such carnet [between November 2010 and July 2011]… Today, between January and November 2014, the number of such [ATA carnet users] has jumped to more than 470,” Mr. Leong said.
“Local enterprises are starting to appreciate and to use such convenient ATA carnet. In addition, considering the development of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in the future, the freight traffic between the regions will also increase. As such, we think that the amendments will benefit the development of the [external trade] field,” he added.
Meanwhile, the amendment will introduce a new option for customs declarations to the city by allowing merchandisers to “clear customs before declaration”. The government says it believes it would simplify the current procedures of customs clearance and enhance convenience.
Mr. Leong indicated that the amended bill will be passed to the Legislative Assembly soon, while amendments, if passed by the legislators, will come into force 30 days after being announced in the Official Gazette.