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Hengqin cooperation zone starts official operation

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-02 07:54
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Cars cross Hengqin Bridge linking Hengqin to Zhuhai, Guangdong province, on Friday, as Hengqin started a new customs operation that allows most goods to be moved there tax-free from the neighboring Macao Special Administrative Region. LI JIANSHU/FOR CHINA DAILY

The Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, Guangdong province, officially started closed-loop operation on Friday, with the implementation of the tax policy of "opening up the first line and controlling the second line".

The executive committee of the zone designates the border between Hengqin and the Macao Special Administrative Region as the "first line" and the border between Hengqin and other parts of the Chinese mainland as the "second line".

Under the closed-loop operation, goods that meet certain conditions will be exempt from tax when entering the cooperation zone through the "first line", while other goods will be bonded. Imported goods entering the mainland through the "second line" will be taxed according to regulations.

On Friday morning, many residents from Macao lined up in the entry hall to enter Hengqin, bringing fruits, cooked meats, vegetables and other items, waiting to cross the border to Hengqin. Customs will grant duty-free release for goods that meet the specified conditions, except for those that are clearly stipulated by laws and administrative regulations not to be exempt from tax, according to a customs officer.

Li Weinong, director of the zone's executive committee, said the closedloop operation is a key measure to implement the original mission of promoting the moderate and diversified development of Macao's economy.

"The policy will effectively promote the efficient and convenient flow of logistics, people, funds and information between Hengqin and Macao, allowing Macao residents who study, work, start businesses and live in the cooperation zone to feel a more similar living environment to Macao in the zone, and create valuable new development space for new industries and formats in Macao," Li said.

A Macao citizen, who was the first passenger to complete customs clearance after a new customs operation became effective in Hengqin, speaks to the media at Hengqin port, Guangdong province, on Friday. LIU DAWEI/XINHUA

Fu Yongge, deputy director of the zone's executive committee, said it is a key measure to accelerate the connection of rules and mechanisms and promote the integrated development between Hengqin and Macao.

Ip Kuai-peng, vice-rector of City University of Macau, said the closedloop operation enables the cost-effective cross-border flow of scientific research instruments and equipment, facilitates the cooperation between Macao universities and well-known enterprises, research institutions and venture capital institutions in the zone, and enhances the ability to transform scientific and technological achievements.

"In the long run, it will help build a world-class cluster of scientific facilities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, forming a comprehensive scientific research and experimental base at a leading international level," said Ip.

Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, the zone on Hengqin Island is expected to register more than 5,000 Macao residents for work and have 20,000 people from Macao living there by the end of the year, according to official estimates.

The number of workers from Macao is expected to surge to 80,000 by 2035, with the number of people from Macao living in the zone rising to 120,000, achieving its strategic goal of promoting moderate and diversified economic development in Macao through the cooperation zone.

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