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MACAU'S EXPORTS AND IMPORTS SURGE BY DOUBLE DIGITS

    Macau'S exports and imports produced year-on-year two-digit growth rates in the first 10 months of the year, resulting in a merchandise trade-balance deficit of 4.1 billion patacas, the Macau Statistics and Census Service has announced.

    According to the official statistics, Macau’s total exports, comprising domestic and re-exports, amounted to 18.71 billion patacas, an increase of 10.7 per cent on the same period last year. While domestic exports rose 8.7 per cent, re-exports grew 17.7 per cent. Between January and October, domestic products made up 76.6 per cent of Macau’s total export value.

    Macau’s total value of imports reached 22.81 billion patacas, a year-on-year increase of 26.8 per cent.
In the first 10 months, textiles and garments made up 80.2 per cent of Macau’s total export value. Whereas textile and garment exports rose 6.5 per cent, non-textile export increased 31.6 per cent.
The United States and the European Union took up 49 per cent and 21.4 per cent of Macau’s total exports between January and October, while Mainland China and Hong Kong combined had a share of 55.3 per cent of Macau’s total import value between January and October.

    Macau’s exports are being bolstered by the weak US dollar, to which the patacas is indirectly linked, and which makes local exports more competitive. The massive import growth is driven by both strong local consumption demand, as income rises on the back of the spectacular economic growth, and in order to support the large-scale infrastructure and casino development projects currently under construction.

FRANCIS TAM EXPECTS RAPID ECONOMIC GROWTH TO CONTINUE NEXT YEAR

   Macau’s top economic affairs official has predicted that the local economy will continue to growth rapidly next year, based on a real year-on-year economic growth in its gross domestic product of 36 per cent in the first half of the year.

   Presenting his portfolio’s 2005 policy guidelines to the Legislative Assembly on November 26, Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen admitted, however, that in spite of the overall improvement of Macau’s economy over the past few years, “there still exist some obstacles that hamper its development.”

   Mr. Tam, whose portfolio includes statistics, the budget, labour and employment affairs, supervision of the gaming industry, social security and public pensions, investment and trade promotion, and monetary and consumer affairs, also said he expected an improvement of internal and external economic conditions and an increase in favourable factors for Macau’s overall development next year, provided that no major adverse incident affected its economy.

   The secretary also said he expected the opening-up of the gaming industry and the ensuing large-scale construction projects to attract a rising number of foreign investors and professionals. However, he also said that “certain problems deserve particular attention,” such as a manufacturing base that continued to lack diversification, “incompatibilities” between economic development and professional and technical resources, rising regional competition, and a “weak competitive capacity” of some of Macau’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

   Mr. Tam also said the government would further “solidity” the implementation of the Macau-Mainland Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), “redouble efforts” to support the development of SMEs, and “intensity” the supervision of the gaming sector, such as “by reinforcing the regulation of the gaming market in order to promote its sound and wholesome development.” He also pledged to improve service conditions for local and non-local investors and to “adequately resolve the problem of a human resources shortage.”

   The secretary also said the government would speed up construction of the Macau-Zhuhai Cross-Border Industrial Zone, which is the first of its kind in China. He also stressed that CEPA now provided for the mainland’s duty-free import of 501 “made-in-Macau” products, 130 of which were presently not manufactured in Macau, apart from the fact that CEPA now also covered 26 of Macau’s service industries.

   Mr. Tam also said the government would continue to promote Macau’s “three business-service platforms” comprising the Portuguese-speaking world, the global community of overseas Chinese businesspeople, and the west part of Guangdong Province. He added that Macau would also strengthen its participation in the so-called “9+2” Pan-Pearl River Delta Co-operation Forum, which comprises nine mainland provinces, as well as the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong.

   On the front of human-resources development, Mr. Tam emphasised that all measures to solve the labour-supply situation “will respect market rules.” He also told the lawmakers the government would “review and improve” labour-import procedures and listen to recommendations by the Human Resources Development Council.


     

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