The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government welcomes the National People’s Congress’ (NPC) decision that authorises Macao’s jurisdiction to be applied to Hengqin port and certain other adjacent areas.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress voted to adopt the decision during a meeting on Saturday (26 October).
Hengqin port is the second-largest land-based boundary crossing between the Macao SAR and the mainland, and links Macao’s Lotus Flower Bridge Checkpoint to mainland territory.
The decision illustrated the Central Government’s tremendous support for Macao’s efforts to integrate in overall national development, and for Macao’s work to advance the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The decision carried great significance in terms of strengthening the interconnectivity of infrastructure linking Macao and the mainland; enhancing the convenience of boundary-crossing procedures; and promoting the highly-efficient and convenient flow of elements necessary for productivity, such as human talent and goods.
The Macao SAR Government would, following the decision, work diligently on related processes, such as local legislation and preparation for the relocation of the Lotus Flower Bridge Checkpoint. The Macao SAR Government would collaborate closely with Guangdong Government and Zhuhai Government in order to implement the “Joint Inspection and One-time Release” principle to customs clearance between Macao and Hengqin.
According to the NPC announcement, the Macao SAR Government would obtain – by way of lease – the right to use the Hengqin port and adjacent area. The lease term would run from the date the facilities become operational until 19 December 2049. The lease period could be extended with approval from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
In August 2018, the Macao SAR Government proposed to the Central Government a relocation of the Lotus Flower Bridge Checkpoint and a new customs-inspection system that would adopt “Joint Inspection and One-time Release”.
In October 2018, the Central Government granted approval in principle for the Macao SAR Government’s proposals. In November 2018 the Macao SAR Government formed a cross-departmental task group to work with Guangdong and Zhuhai authorities regarding defining an area within Hengqin port that would be managed by Macao, and other relevant issues.
In June 2019, a report – base on consensus with Guangdong Province and Zhuhai Prefecture – was submitted to the Central Government with an aim of having the report reviewed at the NPC.