The Guangdong-Macao Cooperation Joint Conference 2023 agreed that Guangdong and Macao would – in a pragmatic way – deepen cooperation in various fields, in order to achieve progress in areas including development of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The Joint Conference was held on Tuesday (19 September) in Macao, at the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Commercial and Trade Service Platform Complex. It was jointly chaired by the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), Mr Ho Iat Seng, and the Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wang Weizhong, and attended by delegations from the governments of the two places.
The gathering had as its theme, “Intensifying Guangdong-Macao high-level cooperation, advancing high-quality development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area”.
The Joint Conference first reviewed work done in the past year. The two sides agreed that substantial progress had been made as a result of cooperation in that period, with an increase in high-level exchanges, intensified ties in various fields, and closer overall collaboration.
The Chief Executive raised three points of aspiration regarding Guangdong-Macao cooperation.
First, was the need to continue appropriate economic diversification in Macao, to ensure the long-term prosperity and stability of the city.
The Development Plan for Appropriate Economic Diversification of the MSAR, to be published soon, aims to provide a blueprint and a detailed path for realising Macao’s “1+4” strategy, and to offer further guidance on social investment, and the development of individuals. The Central Government and other authorities on the mainland – especially the Guangdong Government – had given strong support to Macao’s modern finance industry in relation to issuance in Macao – for three consecutive years – of renminbi-dominated bonds. The MSAR Government would continue to optimise local financial infrastructure.
The second point raised by the Chief Executive was the need to stimulate further development of the Cooperation Zone, and to promote the steady realisation of goals set out for different stages of it.
In line with Macao’s Development Plan for Appropriate Economic Diversification, the Cooperation Zone should focus on identified key industries to realise promotion of targeted investment. Mr Ho called for further effort to improve industry-related policies, to introduce further supportive initiatives for modern financial services, and to step up promotion of the “Big Health” industry, in a bid to build a regional medical-services centre of national importance.
The third point of aspiration mentioned by Mr Ho was the need to pool Guangdong and Macao’s high-quality resources, to optimise cooperation work.
The MSAR Government would continue to work in alignment with the annual tasks identified in the Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. This was with a view to: promoting connection of rules and mechanisms within the Greater Bay Area; as well as for creating further convenience in terms of flow of data, talent exchange, technology, capital and other elements. There was also the intention to: strengthen Guangdong and Macao's work in innovation and technology cooperation; enhance the development of high-tech and other industries; and to deepen cooperation in convention and exhibition business, in order to promote a “one convention, two places” collaboration model.
In his remarks, Governor Wang noted 2023 marked the beginning of the full implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the fourth year since the publication of the Greater Bay Area Development Plan.
Guangdong and Macao should work side-to-side to realise the decisions made by President Xi Jinping and the Party’s Central Committee, to enhance pragmatic cooperation in various fields for the high-quality development of the Greater Bay Area.
Mr Wang raised four points of aspiration during Tuesday’s Joint Conference. First, the need for further effort to promote development of the Cooperation Zone, with a focus on the major task of supporting Macao’s appropriate economic diversification. There was a need to accelerate effort to realise first-phase goals set out in the Master Plan for the Development of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin.
Second, additional effort should be made to enhance interconnection of rules and mechanisms designed to improve general integration of markets in the two places; and to promote the interconnection specifically of financial markets. There should also be work to promote development of a high-level talent base in the Greater Bay Area, and jointly to promote more convenient and orderly cross-boundary exchange in relation to a number of areas.
Third, further effort should be made to advance Macao’s “1+4” appropriate economic diversification strategy. The two places should also work together to promote the development of the Greater Bay Area as a world-class tourism destination. Mr Wang additionally called for more effort to foster organisational work for the second Global Investment Promotion Conference of the Greater Bay Area, and for the 15th National Games.
Fourth, additional effort should be made on improving people's livelihoods and well-being, stated Mr Wang. There should be continuous improvement – in terms of convenience to the public – of delivery of governmental services. The two places should also promote the smooth connection of social security services, strive to provide a broad stage for the social development of Macao young people, and continuously enhance the sense of incremental improvement, happiness, and security among residents in both places.
Topics also discussed during Tuesday’s Joint Conference included high-quality development of the Cooperation Zone; and the need to act on opinions issued regarding financial support for Hengqin. Other topics raised included: deepening Guangdong-Macao cooperation on a modern financial industry; the strengthening of Guangdong-Macao scientific research collaboration, and the joint promotion and creation of a scientific and technological innovation platform; and Guangdong and Macao’s promotion of high-quality medical and “Big Health” cooperation and development. Talks also covered strengthening of the two places’ cooperation in the tourism and leisure industry, and the promotion of the goal of making the Greater Bay Area a world-class tourism destination; promotion of high-level cooperation between Guangdong and Macao in the convention, exhibition, trade, culture and sports sectors; and the optimisation of arrangements for the “Northbound Travel for Macao Vehicles” policy.
After the Joint Conference, Guangdong and Macao signed respectively: an agreement on the development of a smart city cluster; a memorandum regarding the establishment of a “Guangdong-Macao social insurance window (Nansha)”; and a “Guangdong-Macao intellectual property cooperation agreement (2023-2025)”.
Other Macao officials attending the conference included: the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Mr Cheong Weng Chon; the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Lei Wai Nong; the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U; and the Chief-of-Office of the Chief Executive’s Office, Ms Hoi Lai Fong. Guangdong Vice Governor, Mr Zhang Xin, was also present.