Premier: Ma­cao to get ren­minbi clear­ing cen­ter

Li an­nounces sup­port­ive poli­cies to help build up re­gion’s econ­omy

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By HU YONGQI in Ma­cao huy­ongqi@chi­

Premier Li Ke­qiang an­nounced on Mon­day a num­ber of sup­port­ive poli­cies for Ma­cao on his first visit to the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion, in­clud­ing a planned ren­minbi clear­ing cen­ter to ex­change cur­ren­cies with Por­tugue­ses­peak­ing coun­tries.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment will sup­port Ma­cao in host­ing the an­nual Global Tourism Econ­omy Fo­rum, build­ing a se­ries of ex­hi­bi­tion brands with in­ter­na­tional renown, and set­ting up the head­quar­ters for the China-Por­tuguese Speak­ing Coun­tries De­vel­op­ment Fund, the premier said when vis­it­ing the head­quar­ters of the Ma­cao Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion gov­ern­ment on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

Li also called on Ma­cao to align its poli­cies with na­tional de­vel­op­ment strate­gies and strengthen co­op­er­a­tion with neigh­bor­ing prov­inces in or­der to boost pros­per­ity. He said the re­gion should fur­ther im­prove the liveli­hood of 650,000 Ma­cao res­i­dents through a fo­cus on hous­ing and pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

The premier ar­rived at the Ma­cao In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Mon­day morn­ing to start his three-day trip. Fer­nando Chui Sai-on, Ma­cao’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, led fel­low of­fi­cials in greet­ing Li at the air­port.

Li will in­spect the re­gion and meet lead­ers from seven Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 5th Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence of the Fo­rum for Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Por­tuguese-speak­ing Coun­tries, which kicks off on Tues­day and lasts two days.

“Ma­cao has suc­cess­fully prac­ticed ‘One Coun­try, Two Sys­tems’ and I would like to walk around and see the changes Ma­cao has been through bymy­self,” Li said on his ar­rival at the air­port.

The premier said it has been his long-term wish to visit Ma­cao, es­pe­cially since six years ago, when he was in the neigh­bor­ing city of Zhuhai to launch con­struc­tion of the 50-kilo­me­ter-long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Ma­cao Bridge, which is pro­jected to be open by the end of next year.

Ma­cao gov­er­nance was re­turned to China in 1999. Since 2001, Ma­cao’s GDP had grown by 6.8 times to 368.728 bil­lion Ma­cao pat­a­cas ($46 bil­lion) in 2015, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials. Its per capita GDP in­creased to $71,984 last year from $15,698 in 2001.

How­ever, last year saw a drop in growth in Ma­cao. The re­gion is try­ing to di­ver­sify its econ­omy, which has re­lied heav­ily on tourism and casi­nos.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s sup­port­ive mea­sures are aimed at boost­ing Ma­cao’s so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, Li told Chui. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment is al­ways Ma­cao’s strong­est backer, he added.

Chui said Ma­cao will boost co­op­er­a­tion with neigh­bor­ing prov­inces and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally join the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in or­der to pro­duce greater achieve­ments.

On Mon­day, Li also met with the vis­it­ing Mozam­bi­can Prime Min­is­ter Car­los Agostinho do Rosario, Cape Verde’s Prime Min­is­ter Ulisses Cor­reia e Silva and Guinea-Bis­sau’s Prime Min­is­ter Baciro Dja.

The of­fi­cials, from coun­tries where Por­tuguese is an of­fi­cial lan­guage, were to at­tend the min­is­te­rial con­fer­ence.

Ma­cao has suc­cess­fully prac­ticed ‘One Coun­try, Two Sys­tems’, and I would like to walk around and see the changes Ma­cao has been through by my­self.” Premier Li Ke­qiang

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