Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and its subsequent agreements
To promote the joint economic prosperity and development of the Mainland and the Macao Special Administrative Region (Macao) and to further enhance the level of economic and trade cooperation between the two places, the Mainland and Macao decided to initiate a closer economic partnership arrangement, i.e. a FTA-like arrangement established between two separate customs territories of a single sovereign state. The Mainland and Macao signed the “Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement” (CEPA) on 17 October 2003, confirming the full implementation of CEPA from 1 January 2004.
Since CEPA is an open agreement in the sense that its content can be continuously deepened and enriched, during 29 October 2004 and 20 November 2019, the two parties had signed 15 supplementary agreements to CEPA.
CEPA covers commitments in multiple economic and trade areas, including mainly Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Investment, Economic and Technical Cooperation, and Trade and Investment Facilitation.
Trade in Goods
From January 1, 2006, the Mainland shall apply zero tariff to all goods of Macao origin, except for the goods prohibited from importing as stipulated in Mainland laws and regulations as well as other specified products, provided that the related Rules of Origins (ROs) have been agreed and fulfilled.
The Administrative Procedures for Qualifying as Zero Tariff Goods
Macao manufacturers are required to submit information on their production facilities and other details of the products concerned to the Certificate of Origin Issuance Division of Economic and Technological Development Bureau.
After verification of the said information, the applicants may then submit to the properly completed “CO Application Form”.
CO’s data is transmitted electronically from DSEDT system to the Customs’ system of Mainland, after final assessment. The applicant only needs to give the number of relevant CO to importer. The importer can submit import declaration process to the Customs of Mainland.
Trade in Services
The Mainland and Macao signed the CEPA Agreement on Trade in Services under the framework of CEPA on 28 November 2015, and signed the Agreement Concerning Amendment to the Agreement on Trade in Services of the Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement on 20 November 2019 to expand the scope of the original CEPA and deepen its commitments.
Definition of “Macao Service Supplier”(MSS) and the Examination Procedures
Generally speaking, natural persons and juridical persons can enjoy CEPA benefits provided that they fulfill the definition stipulated in Annex 3 to CEPA Agreement on Trade in Services.
A natural person refers to as a permanent resident of the Macao Special Administrative Region, whereas a juridical person means any company registered pursuant to the Macao Commercial Code, Macao Commercial Registration Code or other relevant laws, that has engaged in substantive business operations in Macao for 3 to 5 years (years of operation required vary by the service sector concerned).
More information：CEPA Agreement on Trade in Services – Annex 3
Signed on 18 December 2017 between the Mainland and Macao, the Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement Investment Agreement (hereafter referred to as CEPA Investment Agreement) is a new subsidiary agreement providing a comprehensive coverage of admission of investments and protection and promotion of investment, etc., conforming to international rules and combining the features of the two places. Offering a high level of liberalisation and strong protection, it will provide a more systematic institutionalised protection for economic and trade exchange and cooperation between the two places.
Definition and Qualification Verification of “Macao Investor”
Generally speaking, natural persons and juridical persons are entitled to the preferential treatments accorded by the Mainland provided that they fulfill the definition stipulated in Annex 1 to CEPA Investment Agreement.
A natural person refers to a permanent resident of the Macao Special Administrative Region, whereas a juridical person means any legal entity that is registered in accordance with the Macao Commercial Code, Macao Commercial Registration Code or other relevant laws and regulations and has engaged in substantive business operations in Macao for 3 years or more.
More information：CEPA Investment Agreement – Annex 1
Economic and Technical Cooperation
Signed on 18 December 2017 between the Mainland and Macao, the Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation (hereafter referred to as the CEPA Ecotech Agreement), which is comprised of a total of 8 chapters and 30 articles, involves sorting, categorising and consolidating the economic and technical cooperation activities set out in CEPA and its 10 Supplements, as well as combining the respective levels and features of economic development of the Mainland and Macao at the current stage. It focuses on highlighting Macao’s features, incorporates new cooperation areas and supplements new cooperation activities.
The 14 key areas of cooperation of the CEPA Ecotech Agreement, including tourism, convention and exhibition, traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese medicinal products, finance, electronic commerce, environment, legal and dispute resolution, accounting, culture, innovation and technology, education, small and medium enterprises, intellectual property, and trademark and branding, connect to the elements of the Five-Year Development Plan highlighting China’s needs and Macao’s strengths, promote the development of featured finance, convention and exhibition with a priority on convention, traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese medicinal products and other emerging industries in Macao, as well as support Macao to nurture new areas of economic growth with a view to facilitating moderately diversified economic development in Macao.
Enquiries and Submission of Applications
For enquiries related to CEPA and submission of relevant applications, please contact Regional Cooperation Information Center of Economic and Technological Development Bureau:
Rua Dr. Pedro José Lobo, No. 1-3, 2/F, Macao
Tel: (853) 8597 2343
Fax: (853) 2871 2553
Source: The CEPA website by the Macao SAR Government