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Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah announces liberalisation of the gaming industry in his 2001 Policy Address

   Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah announced the liberalisation of the local gaming industry at a press conference about his 2001 Policy Address on November 9. He said he was convinced the casino sectorÁs demono- polisation would be "advantageous" to MacauÁs socio-economic development in the near future.

    "I am convinced that the liberalisation of the gaming industry will not be detrimental to society," the Chief Executive said. However, he stressed that "we do not know yet the type of liberalisation that we will have," adding, "and we do not know whether the process will lead to a total or partial liberalisation and whether it will be done step-by-step or at once." His administration has hired international consultancy firm Arthur Andersen to prepare a study on the future of MacauÁs gaming industry, which is currently run by a casino monopoly company, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversűes de Macau/Macau Tourism and Amusement Company (STDM). The monopoly, which was originally granted by MacauÁs pre-handover Portuguese colonial administration in 1962, is due to expire at the end of next year.p>

    STDMÁs currently 10 casinos generated 3.5 billion patacas (US $ 442 million) in monopoly franchise taxes, or 65 per cent of the total revenue of the Macau Government, in the first eight months of the year. STDM pays 31.8 per cent of its gross takings as franchise taxation to the Government.

Japanese Prime Minister says his country is ready to support Macau's high-tech development

    Japanese Prime Minister Yashiro Mori has said his country is ready to support MacauÁs high-tech development, namely in the areas of information technology, telecommunications and other new economy sectors.p>

    Mori made the pledge during a meeting with Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah in Tokyo on September 21. The Prime Minister told Mr Ho that MacauÁs social stability and economic development were important factors for Japan, adding he expected the Macau Special Administrative Region to maintain its existing open and free socio-political and economic systems.p>

    Mr Ho said after his top-level meetings in Tokyo, including talks with Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, that his visit had exceeded all expectations. The Chief Executive also said that the Japanese government would send a number of experts to Macau in the near future.

Singapore and Macau Agree to Establish Close Ties of Co-operation

   Singapore and Macau have agreed to establish a close relationship of co-operation, namely in the areas of high-tech development, information technology, telecommunications and the professional training of public servants.p>

    The co-operative relationship is the direct outcome of Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah's official visit to the island state in August.p>

    Mr Ho met Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew and several other top government officials and business community leaders during the four-day visit at the invitation of Singapore's foreign ministry. The Singapore government promised to assist Macau in its efforts to streamline its public administration and upgrade its manufacturing and services sectors.p>

    Consultants from Singapore are expected to advise Macau on its plans to take part in the development of Hengqin Island of the adjacent Zhuhai Special Economic Zone. Macau and Zhuhai have expressed interest in the joint tourism development of the island, which is close to Macau's Taipa and Coloane islands.

Francis Tam Pak-yuen says Macau can be a Bridge for Trade and Investment Relations between Mainland China and Taiwan

    Macau can be a bridge for trade and investment relations between Mainland China and Taiwan, the Macau governmentÁs policy Secretary for Economy and Finance, Francis Tam Pak-yuen, told an economic forum in Fujian Province in September.p>

    Speaking at the seminar in Fuzhou on September 8, Mr Tam said Macau could also become a major link between the Chinese Mainland and markets with which it has traditionally maintained close relations, namely the 15-nation European Union and the seven-member Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries. He said the Macau Special Administrative Region would further develop its status as an international entrepot for trade, investments and services and as a free port and a separate customs territory.p>

    Mr Tam revealed during the seminar that the assets of the over 200 Mainland China enterprises based in Macau totalled more than US $ 5 billion.


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