Macau

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Report
June 29, 2017

This is the basic text view. SWITCH NOW to the new, more interactive format.


Executive SummaryShare    

Macau became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on December 20, 1999. Macau's status since reverting to Chinese sovereignty is defined in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration (1987) and the Basic Law. Under the concept of “one country, two systems” articulated in these documents, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in economic matters, and its economic system is to remain unchanged for 50 years. The Government of Macau (GOM) maintains a transparent, non-discriminatory, and free-market economy. The GOM is committed to maintaining an investor-friendly environment.

In 2002, the GOM ended a long-standing gaming monopoly, awarding two gaming concessions to consortia with U.S. interests. This opening has encouraged substantial U.S. investment in casinos and hotels, and has spurred exceptionally rapid economic growth over the last few years.

Macau is today the undisputed gaming capital of the world, having surpassed Las Vegas in terms of gambling revenue. U.S. investment over the past decade is estimated to exceed USD 23.8 billion. In addition to gaming, Macau is positioning itself to be a regional center for incentive travel, conventions, and tourism. The American business community in Macau has continued to grow. In 2007, business leaders founded the American Chamber of Commerce of Macau.

Macau seeks to speed up its economic diversification to transform the city into a world center of tourism and leisure, as well as a “commercial and trade cooperation service platform” between the Mainland China and Portuguese-speaking countries. The GOM has started various policies to promote economic diversification and sustainable development and to create business opportunities for domestic and foreign investors.

In September 2016, the GOM announced its first Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020). The highlights of the plan include establishing a trade cooperation service platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, improving the structure of industries, raising life quality, protecting the environment, and strengthening the efficiency of government.

Table 1

Measure

Year

Index / Rank

Website Address

TI Corruption Perceptions index

2016

N/A

transparency.org/news/feature/
corruption_perceptions_index_2016

World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2017

N/A

doingbusiness.org/rankings

Global Innovation Index

2016

N/A

www.globalinnovationindex.org/
gii-2016-report

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

N/A

BEA/Host government

World Bank GNI per capita

2015

67,180

data.worldbank.org/
indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign InvestmentShare    

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Under the concept of “one country, two systems”, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in economic matters, and its economic system is to remain unchanged for at least 50 years. The GOM maintains a transparent, non-discriminatory, and free-market economy. Macau has separate membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Macau is heavily dependent on the gaming sector and tourism industries. The GOM aims to diversify Macau's economy by attracting foreign investment and is committed to maintaining an investor-friendly environment. Corporate taxes are low, with a tax rate of 12 percent for companies whose net profits exceed 300,000 Patacas (USD 37,500). For net profits less than USD 37,500, the tax ranges from three percent to 12 percent. The top personal tax rate is 12 percent; however, the tax rate of casino concessionaries is 35 percent on gross gaming revenue, plus a four percent contribution for culture, infrastructure, tourism, and a social security fund.

In 2002, the GOM ended a long-standing gaming monopoly, awarding two gaming concessions to consortia with U.S. interests. This opening has encouraged substantial U.S. investment in casinos and hotels, and has spurred exceptionally rapid economic growth over the last few years. Macau is positioning itself to be a regional center for gaming, incentive travel, conventions, and tourism.

In 2004, Macau and the PRC implemented a free trade agreement (FTA), the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). The agreement is similar to the Hong Kong-PRC CEPA. Macau’s CEPA currently provides tariff-free access to Mainland China for all Macau-origin products and preferential treatment for 48 service sectors. Since March 2015, Macau and the PRC’s Guangdong Province have implemented an agreement on achieving basic liberalization of trade in services. The agreement has introduced the use of a “negative list” under the CEPA framework that covers 134 service sectors and grants national treatment to Macau’s 58 service industries. In addition, this agreement has offered Macau most-favored nation treatment -- i.e., any CEPA-plus liberalization measures included in the FTAs signed by the Mainland China with other countries will be automatically extended to Macau. The framework and content of the agreement serves as a model for basic liberalization of trade in services between Macau and all of Mainland China. With the PRC’s launch of the Guangdong Free Trade Zone in March 2015, industry observers mentioned that Macau has further strengthened its cross-border collaboration with Guangdong.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Foreign firms and individuals are free to establish companies, branches, and representative offices without discrimination or undue regulation in Macau. There are no restrictions on the ownership of such establishments. Company directors are not required to be citizens of, or resident in, Macau.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

Macau conducted the WTO Trade Policy Review in May 2013.https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/g281_e.pdf

Business Facilitation

The Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) is an agency of the GOM with responsibility for promoting trade and investment activities. IPIM provides one-stop service and notary service for business registration, and it applies all legal and administrative procedures to all local and foreign individuals or organizations interested in setting up a company in Macau. http://www.ipim.gov.mo/en/services/one-stop-service/handle-company-registration-procedures/

The GOM defines a Small- and Medium-Enterprise (SME) as a company with less than 100 employees. The GOM has tailored-made several financial schemes for SMEs in order to boost their growth. One of the criteria of the schemes is that at least 50 percent of a company’s capital should be owned by Macau residents.

Outward Investment

Macau, as a free market economy, does not promote or incentivize outward investment, nor does it restrict domestic investors from investing abroad. Hong Kong and Mainland China were the top two destinations for Macau’s outward investments in 2015.

2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation TreatiesShare    

Macau has signed investment protection agreements with Portugal and the Netherlands. Macau does not have a bilateral taxation treaty with the United States.

In December 2016, the United States signed an Inter-Government Agreement on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act with Macau.

3. Legal RegimeShare    

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The GOM has transparent policies and laws that establish clear rules and do not unnecessarily impede investment. The basic elements of a competition policy are set out in Macau's 1999 Commercial Code.

The GOM will normally conduct a three-month public consultation when amending or making any legislation, including investment laws, and will write up a draft bill based on the results of the public consultation. The lawmakers will discuss the draft bill and finally put it to a final vote. All the processes are transparent and consistent with international norms.

Macau’s accounting systems are transparent, as well. Macau has selectively adopted individual International Financial Reporting Standards into its accounting framework as Macau Accounting Standards (MASs), which have become compulsory since January 2007. The application of MASs is mandatory for all establishments that have been granted concessionary status by the GOM, as well as for financial institutions and companies limited by shares in Macau.

International Regulatory Considerations

Macau is a member of WTO and adopts international norms. The GOM notified all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Under the principle of “One country, two systems”, Macau maintains Continental European law as the foundation of its legal system, which is based on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Macau has a written commercial law and contract law. The Commercial Code is a comprehensive source of commercial law, while the Civil Code serves as a fundamental source of contractual law. Courts in Macau include the Court of Final Appeal, Intermediate Courts, and Primary Courts. There is also an Administrative Court, which has jurisdiction over administrative and tax cases. These provide an effective means for enforcing property and contractual rights. Macau's dramatic economic expansion in the last few years, combined with a shortage of qualified jurists, have put a strain on the operations of the judicial system, leading in some cases to delays in case resolution of over two years. In response, the GOM has increased the number of judge and judicial clerk training programs. At present, the Court of Final Appeal has three judges; the Intermediate Courts have 10 judges; and the Primary Courts have 28 judges. The Public Prosecutions Office has 36 prosecutors.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Macau's legal system is based on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Foreign and domestic companies register under the same rules and are subject to the same set of commercial and bankruptcy laws (Decree 40/99/M).

The website http://www.io.gov.mo/ links to the GOM’s Printing Bureau, which publishes laws, rules, and procedures in both Chinese and Portuguese.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

Macau has no agency that reviews transactions for competition-related concerns, nor a competition law. The Commercial Code (Law No. 16/2009) contains basic elements of a competition policy with regard to commercial practices that can distort the proper functioning of markets. The GOM states that the existing provisions are adequate and appropriate given the scale and scope of local economy.

Expropriation and Compensation

The U.S. Consulate General is not aware of any direct or indirect actions to expropriate. Legal expropriations of private property may occur if it is in the public interest. In such cases, the GOM will exchange the private property with an equivalent public property based on the fair market value and conditions of the former. The exchange of property is in accordance with established principles of international law. There is no remunerative compensation.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Both the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention) and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) apply, by extension, to Macau now that it has reverted to Chinese sovereignty. (China is a signatory to both.)

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The U.S. Consulate General is aware of one investment dispute involving U.S. or other foreign investors or contractors and the GOM. In March 2010, a low cost airline carrier was reportedly forced to cancel flight services because of a credit dispute with its fuel provider, triggering events which led to the airline’s de-licensing. Macau courts declared the airline bankrupt in September 2010. The airline’s major shareholder, a U.S. private investment company, filed a case in the Macau courts seeking a judgment as to whether a GOM administrative act led to the airline's demise. The Court of Second Instance held hearings on May and June 2012. In November 2013, the Court of Second Instance rejected the appeal. Private investment disputes are normally handled in the courts or via private negotiation. Alternatively, disputes may be referred to the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center or the World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Macau has an arbitration law (Decree 55/98/M), which adopts the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model law for international commercial arbitration. The GOM accepts international arbitration of investment disputes between itself and investors. Local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards.

Macau established the World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center in June 1998. The objective of the Center is to promote the resolution of disputes through arbitration and conciliation, providing the disputing parties with alternative resolutions other than judicial litigation.

Foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters may be enforced in Macau. The enforcement of foreign judgments is stipulated in Articles 1199 and 1200 of the Civil Procedure Code. A foreign court decision will be recognized and enforced in Macau, provided that it qualifies as a final decision supported by authentic documentation and that its enforcement will not breach Macau’s public policy.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Commercial and bankruptcy laws are written under the Macau Commercial Code, the Civil Procedure Code, and the Penal Code. The bankruptcy proceedings can be invoked by an application from the bankrupt business, by petition of the creditor, or by the Public Prosecutor. There are four methods that are used commonly to prevent the occurrence of bankruptcy: the creditors meeting, the audit of the company’s assets, the amicable settlement, and the creditor agreement. According to Articles 615-618 of the Civil Code and Article 351-353 of the Civil Procedure Code, a creditor who has a justified fear of losing the guarantee of his credits may request the seizure of the assets of the debtor. Bankruptcy offences are subject to criminal liability.

4. Industrial PoliciesShare    

Investment Incentives

To attract foreign investment, the GOM offers investment incentives to investors on a national treatment basis. These incentives are contained in Decrees 23/98/M and 49/85/M and are provided so long as companies can prove they are doing one of the following: promoting economic diversification, contributing to the promotion of exports to new unrestricted markets, promoting added value within their activity’s value chain, or contributing to technical modernization. There is no requirement that nationals own shares. These incentives are categorized as fiscal incentives, financial incentives, and export diversification incentives.

Fiscal incentives include full or partial exemption from profit/corporate tax, industrial tax, property tax, stamp duty for transfer of properties, and consumption tax. The tax incentives are consistent with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, as they are neither export subsidies nor import substitution subsidies as defined in the WTO Agreement. Financial incentives include government-funded interest subsidies. Export diversification incentives include subsidies given to companies and trade associations attending trade promotion activities organized by IPIM. Only companies registered with Macau Economic Services (MES) may receive subsidies for costs such as space rental or audio-visual material production. Macau also provides other subsidies for the installation of anti-pollution equipment.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Macau is a free port; however, there are four types of dutiable commodities: liquors, tobacco, vehicles, and petrol (gasoline.) Licenses must be obtained from the MES prior to importation of these commodities.

In April 2016, the GOM ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Furthermore, in order to promote the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) and logistics industry in Macau, the Legislative Assembly approved in July 2016 a bill which amended the existing Foreign Trade Law issued in 2003. This amendment introduced an ATA Carnet (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission), which is an international customs document that provides an efficient method for the temporary import and re-export of goods, and which greatly eases the way for foreign exhibitions and businesses.

There are a number of significant infrastructure projects in Macau, including the:

  • Light Rail Transit (LTR) System: In 2003, in an effort to relieve traffic congestion, the GOM proposed to build a 21-km LTR, which will connect the Macau Peninsula, Taipa Island, and Cotai (reclaimed land between the islands of Coloane and Taipa) with 21 stations. After years of research, the GOM commenced the first phase in November 2011. The GOM expects to complete the LTR by 2018/19 and to increase the number of passengers from 8,000 in the early stage of operation to 14,200 by 2020.
  • Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge: The construction of the Macau section of the 29-km bridge started in December 2009. The bridge is expected to better link Hong Kong, Zhuhai city (in Guangdong province), and Macau with the less developed western part of the Pearl River Delta region. The bridge is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.
  • Pac On Ferry Terminal: The construction of a new ferry terminal at Taipa, which took almost 12 years, was finally completed last year and will begin operations on June 1, 2017. The Pac On Terminal it will become Macau’s main maritime border crossing, with a capacity for 15 million passengers a year.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Macau does not follow a forced localization policy in which foreign investors must use domestic content in goods or technology. However, both local and foreign casino operators in Macau are required by law to employ only Macau residents as croupiers. There is no such restriction imposed on any other sector of the economy. In order to promote economic diversification away from gaming revenue, the GOM states that one of the criteria it will consider to renew the licenses of local and foreign casino operators when their concessions expire between 2020 and 2022 is the total amount of investments in non-gaming sectors.

There are no requirements by the GOM for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (i.e., backdoors into hardware and software or turning over keys for encryption).

5. Protection of Property RightsShare    

Real Property

Private ownership of property is enshrined in the Basic Law. There are no restrictions on foreign property ownership. Macau has a sound banking mortgage system, which is under the supervision of the MMA. There are only a small number of freehold property interests in the older part of Macau.

According to the Cartography and Cadaster Bureau, 21 percent of land parcels in Macau do not have clear title, for unknown reasons. Industry observers commented that no one knows whether these land parcels will be privately or publicly owned in the future.

Macau has no specific regulations regarding land lease or acquisition by foreign and/or non-resident investors.

Intellectual Property Rights

Macau is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Macau has acceded to the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Patents and trademarks are registered under Decree 97/99/M. Macau’s copyright laws are compatible with the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and government offices are required to use only licensed software. The GOM devotes considerable attention to intellectual property rights enforcement and coordinates with copyright holders. Source Identification Codes are stamped on all optical discs produced in Macau. The MES uses an expedited prosecution arrangement to speed up punishment of accused retailers of pirated products.

Macau Customs has worked to combat optical disc piracy in recent years, resulting in the closure of all illicit optical disc production lines in Macau. Macau Customs also maintains an enforcement department to investigate incidents of intellectual property (IP) theft. In 2016, Macau had no reported cases of optical disc piracy. Macau Customs works closely with Mainland Chinese authorities, foreign customs agencies, and the World Customs Organization to share best practices to address criminal organizations engaging in IP theft.

Since 2010, Macau has accelerated the registration processes for trademarks and patents by doubling the publication frequency of applications. In February 2012, the Legislative Assembly passed a bill to “Modify the Copyright System and Related Rights,” which revised the existing copyright law by extending protections to Internet and digital technology. Today, copyright infringement for trade or business purposes is subject to a fine or a maximum imprisonment of four years. Since the enactment of the law, signal piracy (including U.S. origin program content) has been reduced.

The number of applications for trademark registrations grew by double digits over the past five years. In 2016, the MES filed a total of 11,507 applications for trademark registrations. According to the MES satisfaction survey conducted in 2016, all its services relating to copyrights, trademarks, patents, and layout designs reached the performance standards under the Performance Pledge Scheme.

Resources for Rights Holders

Danielle Zheng
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for South China, Hong Kong, and Macau
U.S. Consulate General
43 Hua Jiu Road, Zhujiang New Town
Tianhe District
Guangzhou, China
510623
+86 (20) 3814-5533
Danielle.Zheng@trade.gov

American Chamber of Commerce Macau
Alameda Dr. Carlos d’ Assumpcao No 263
Edif China Civil Plaza, 20 Andar
Macau
+853-2857-5059
info@amcham.org.mo

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/.

Local lawyers list: http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/acs_attorneys.html

6. Financial SectorShare    

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Macau allows free flows of financial resources. Foreign investors can obtain credit in the local financial market.

In December 2009, the MMA signed a memorandum with the People’s Bank of China to develop the Renminbi (RMB) settlement mechanism for cross-border trade. According to the memorandum, the quota on the value of RMB exchanged for each individual transaction increased from RMB 6,000 (USD 878) to RMB 20,000 (USD 2,928). The list of designated merchants who are allowed to exchange RMB for MOP from Macau banks was expanded to include institutions that provide telecommunications, education, and exhibition/convention services. In addition, Macau residents are allowed to use RMB checks to pay for consumer spending in Guangdong Province, up to RMB 50,000 (USD 7,320) per account per day. Since 2010, the People’s Bank of China has been providing cross-border settlement of funds for Macau residents and institutions involved in transactions for RMB bonds issued in Hong Kong. Macau residents and institutions can purchase or sell, through Macau RMB participating banks, the RMB bonds issued in Hong Kong. In March 2012, in an effort to diversify its asset portfolio, the MMA signed an agreement with the People’s Bank of China to acquire up to RMB 10 billion in RMB bonds. In December 2013, China doubled the quota for investment in the mainland bond market to RMB 20 billion. Since March 2016, the Macau RMB Real Time Gross Settlements (RMB RTGS) System has been put into operation, providing real-time settlement services for RMB remittances and interbank transfer of RMB funds. The RMB RTGS System will not only help improve risk management and clearing efficiency of RMB funds, but also foster Macau’s development into a RMB clearing platform for trade settlement between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

Macau has no stock market, but companies can seek a listing in Hong Kong’s stock market. Macau and Hong Kong financial regulatory authorities also cooperate on issues of mutual concern. Under the Macau Insurance Ordinance, the MMA authorizes and monitors insurance companies. There are 11 life insurance companies and 12 non-life insurance companies in Macau. Total gross premium income from insurance services amounted to USD 2.6 billion in 2016.

Offshore finance businesses, including credit institutions, insurers, underwriters, and offshore trust management companies, are regulated and supervised by the MMA. Profits derived from offshore activities are fully exempted from all forms of taxes. In June 2012, the Legislative Assembly passed a draft bill for a deposit protection scheme. The new law (Law 9/2012), which has been in effect since October 2012, stipulates that banks compensate depositors up to a maximum of MOP 500,000 (USD 62,500) in case of a bank failure. To finance the deposit protection scheme, the GOM has injected MOP 150 million (USD 18.75 million) into the deposit protection fund, while banks need to pay an annual contribution of 0.05 percent of the amount of protected deposits held.

Money and Banking System

The MMA functions as a de facto central bank. It is responsible for maintaining the stability of the financial system and managing the currency reserves and foreign assets. At present, there are twenty-nine financial institutions in Macau, including 10 local banks and 19 branches of banks incorporated outside Macau. In addition, there are 11 moneychangers, 2 cash remittance companies, 2 financial intermediaries, 6 exchange counters, and 1 representative office of a financial institution. These institutions provide a range of credit instruments. The Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are the largest two banks in Macau, with total assets of USD 72.1 billion and USD 23.9 billion, respectively. Banks with capital originally from Mainland China and Portugal had a combined market share of about 89 percent of total deposits in the banking system at the end of 2015. Total deposits amounted to USD 64.9 billion by the end of 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2016, banks in Macau maintained a capital adequacy ratio of 16.13 percent, well above the minimum eight percent recommended by the Bank for International Settlements. Accounting systems in Macau are consistent with international norms.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Profits and other funds associated with an investment, including investment capital, earnings, loan repayments, lease payments, and capital gains, can be freely converted and remitted. The domestic currency, Macau Official Pataca (MOP), is pegged to the Hong Kong Dollar at 1.03 and indirectly to the U.S. Dollar at an exchange rate of approximately MOP 7.99 = USD 1. The Macau Monetary Authority (MMA), the city’s de facto central bank, is committed to exchange rate stability through maintenance of the peg to the Hong Kong Dollar.

Although Macau imposes no restrictions on capital flows and foreign exchange operations, exporters are required to convert 40 percent of foreign currency earnings into MOP. This legal requirement is not applied to tourism services.

Remittance Policies

Macau does not restrict the remittance of profits and dividends derived from investment, nor does it require reporting on cross-border remittances. Foreign investors can bring capital into Macau and remit it freely.

Macau has anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) laws in place. In addition, Macau is not on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) List of Countries identified as having strategic AML deficiencies. FATF, however, has recommended that the GOM continue making efforts to develop an AML/CFT framework that meets international standards, including an effective cross-border cash declaration system.

In August 2015, the MMA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on AML actions with the People’s Bank of China. The MOU covers actions such as information exchange and cooperation on onsite inspections of casino operations. Furthermore, the Legislative Assembly approved unanimously in March 2016 Macau’s first terrorist asset-freezing bill, which is based on compliance with the United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions. The bill became effective on August 30, 2016.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested in July 2014 that the GOM invest its large fiscal reserves in setting up a sovereign wealth fund to protect the city’s economy from future headwinds like slowing gaming revenues, increased social spending arising from the ageing population, and structural reforms in Mainland China. In November 2015, the GOM decided to establish a sovereign wealth fund, named the MSAR Investment and Development Fund, through a substantial allocation from the city’s ample fiscal reserves. The GOM is currently studying the relevant legislation for setting up the Fund by 2019.

7. State-Owned EnterprisesShare    

Macau’s gaming sector accounts for 48 percent of output and 77 percent of general government revenue, although the GOM has no ownership in any gaming companies. Macau does not have state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Several economic sectors – including cable television, telecommunications, electricity, and airport/port management, are run by private companies under concession contracts from the GOM. The GOM holds a small percentage of shares (ranging from one to 10 percent) in these government-affiliated enterprises. The government set out in its 1999 Commercial Code the basic elements of a competition policy with regard to commercial practices that can distort the proper functioning of markets. Court cases related to anti-competitive behavior remain rare.

Macau is not party to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The media reports that the Joint Committee set up under the EU-Macau Bilateral Agreement is engaging with Macau on adopting the GPA.

Privatization Program

The GOM has not mentioned any considerations of privatization programs in recent years.

8. Responsible Business ConductShare    

The six gaming concessionaires that dominate Macau’s economy pay four percent of gross gaming revenues to the government to fund cultural and social programs in the SAR. Several operators also directly fund gaming addiction rehabilitation programs. Some government-affiliated entities maintain active corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. For example, Companhia de Electricidad de Macau, an electric utility, provides educational programs and repair services free-of-charge to underprivileged residents. The GOM conducted an interim assessment of the gaming sector in May 2016. One of the nine aspects that the GOM will consider for the renewal of gaming licenses, which will expire in 2020-2022, is casino operators’ social responsibility. (Note: The licenses held by SJM Holdings and MGM China will expire in 2020, while those of Wynn Resorts, Melco Crown Entertainment, Galaxy Entertainment Group, and Sands China all run until 2022. End note.) Since 2007, the Junior Chamber International Macau has held an annual Corporate Social Responsibility International Forum to promote CSR programs. In February 2017, Macau Polytechnic Institute held a Forum on Macau Integrated Tourism and Leisure Enterprises and Corporate Social Responsibility. All six gaming operators presented in the forum and promoted CSR.

Macau is not a member of the OECD, and hence, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are not applicable to Macau companies.

9. CorruptionShare    

In December 2014, the Legislative Assembly passed a bill on preventing and curbing bribery in external trade. The bill, which is based on the UN Convention against Corruption, came into effect January 2015. The law stipulates that anyone who offers a bribe to foreign public officials (including officials of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and officials of public international organizations in exchange for a trade deal could receive a jail term up to three years or fines.

Macau's anti-corruption agency is the Commission Against Corruption (known by its Portuguese acronym CCAC). The CCAC’s highest profile case was Macau Transport and Public Works Secretary Ao Man Long’s 27-year prison sentence in 2008. Ao was convicted of accepting bribes from real estate and construction companies in exchange for contract approvals in 20 public works projects. Until 2009, the CCAC's overall effectiveness remained constrained by legislation limiting the scope of its authority to government-sector corruption. In August 2009, the Legislative Assembly passed an amendment that empowered the CCAC to also investigate private sector corruption. In February 2016, former head of the Public Prosecutions Office Ho Chio-meng was arrested by CCAC. Ho, who had been an executive of the anti-graft agency before Macau reverted to Chinese sovereignty, and his main officers were accused of receiving USD 5.5 million in kickbacks during 2004-14 from public works contracts worth a total of USD 21 million. The Court of Final Appeal started hearing the case in December 2016 and continued in 2017.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combating Bribery

Macau is not a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention, nor a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency responsible for combating corruption:

CHEONG Weng-chon, Commissioner
Commission Against Corruption
105, Avenida Xian Xing Hai, 17/F, Centro Golden Dragon, Macau
+853- 2832-6300
ccac@ccac.org.mo

10. Political and Security EnvironmentShare    

Macau is politically stable. The U.S. Consulate General is not aware of any incidents in recent years involving politically motivated damage to projects or installations.

11. Labor Policies and PracticesShare    

Macau's unemployment rate in January 2017 was 2.0 percent, down from a high of 6.1 percent in 2003, primarily due to the increase in gaming facilities, retail trade, construction, and hotels. Foreign businesses cite the constant shortage of skilled workers – a result of the past decade’s boom in entertainment facilities – as a top constraint on their operations and future expansion. The government is studying proposals to resolve the human resources problem. For example, Macau has labor importation schemes for unskilled and skilled workers who cannot be recruited locally. In November 2012, Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui announced that the GOM has approved the importation of domestic helpers from Mainland China.

Macau does not have any policies that waive labor laws in order to attract or retain investment. The rights for workers to form trade unions and to strike are both enshrined in the Basic Law, but there are no laws in Macau that specifically deal with those rights. The law does not provide that workers can collectively bargain, and while workers have the right to strike, there is no specific protection in the law from retribution if workers exercise this right. The labor unions are independent of the government and employers, by law and in practice.

According to the Labor Relations Law, a female worker cannot be dismissed, except with just cause (e.g., willful disobedience to orders given by superiors, or violation of regulations on occupational hygiene and safety), during her pregnancy or within the three months after childbirth. In practice, either the employer or the employee may rescind the labor contract with or without just cause. In general, any circumstance that makes it impossible to continue the labor relation can constitute just cause for rescission of the contract. If the employer terminates the contract with the worker without just cause, the employer must pay the employee severance pay. In addition, Macau’s social security system, which is regulated by Decree-Law No. 84/89/M, provides local workers with economic aid when they are old, unemployed, or sick.

Workers who believe they were dismissed unlawfully can bring a case to court or lodge a complaint with the Labor Affairs Bureau. Even without formal collective bargaining rights, companies often negotiate with unions, although the government may act as an intermediary. There is no indication that past disputes or appeals were subject to lengthy delays.

The GOM has put measures in place to replace some foreign workers with Macau residents. In 2009, the Legislative Assembly passed a bill that established criminal penalties for employers of illegal migrants and prevented foreign workers from changing employers in Macau. The government has used the proceeds of a tax on the import of temporary workers for retraining local unemployed people.

In June 2014, the GOM introduced to the Legislative Assembly a bill setting Macau’s first statutory minimum hourly wage at USD 3.8 for security guards and cleaners employed by property management companies. The bill, which was passed by the legislators in July 2015, came into effect January 1, 2016. This is the only minimum hourly wage in effect.

12. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance ProgramsShare    

Overseas Private Investment Corporation coverage is not available in Macau.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment StatisticsShare    

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

 

Host Country Statistical Source

USG or International Statistical Source

USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

Economic Data

Year

Amount

Year

Amount

 

Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)

2016

44,775

2015

46,177

http://www.worldbank.org/en/country

Foreign Direct Investment

Host Country Statistical Source

USG or International Statistical Source

USG or international Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

355

2015

D*

BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm

Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

N/A

2015

164

BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm

Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP

2015

64%

2015

N.A.

N.A.

*Note: (D) indicates that the data in the cell have been suppressed to avoid disclosure of data of individual companies.
 

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data

From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)

Inward Direct Investment

Outward Direct Investment

Total Inward

29,035

100%

Total Outward

3,095

100%

Cayman Islands

8,240

28%

China,P.R.:Hong Kong

703

23%

China,P.R.:Hong Kong

7,409

26%

China,P.R.: Mainland

526

17%

British Virgin Islands

6,813

23%

British Virgin Islands

106

3%

China,P.R.: Mainland

4,350

15%

N/A

N/A

N/A

Portugal

1,087

4%

N/A

N/A

N/A

"0" reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.


Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Portfolio Investment Assets

Top Five Partners (Millions, US Dollars)

Total

Equity Securities

Total Debt Securities

All Countries

54,969

100%

All Countries

21,308

100%

All Countries

33,660

100%

China, P.R.: Mainland

25,690

47%

China, P.R.: Mainland

6,451

30%

China, P.R.: Mainland

19,239

57%

China, P.R.: Hong Kong

7,250

13%

China, P.R.: Hong Kong

4,741

22%

United States

2,648

8%

United States

5,130

9%

United States

2,483

12%

China, P.R.: Hong Kong

2,510

7%

Cayman Islands

3,388

6%

Cayman Islands

1,863

9%

British Virgin Islands

1,698

5%

British Virgin Islands

2,268

4%

Luxembourg

1,290

6%

Australia

1,695

5%

14. Contact for More InformationShare    

Alan Brinker
Consul, Economic Affairs
U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong
26 Garden Road, Central
Hong Kong SAR, PRC
+852-2841-2489
information_resource_center_hk@yahoo.com