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|Tuesday, December 12, 2000, updated at 11:32(GMT+8)|
Macao SAR Gets Closer with Outside WorldThe Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China has strengthened external exchanges this year to make the world know more about Macao, and vice versa.
Since May, Macao SAR Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah has paid visits to Portugal, France, Singapore and Japan successively. To publicize the SAR, draw on others' experience and explore cooperation are the distinct features of these exchanges.
Wherever he went, the chief executive would talk about the implementation of the "one country, two systems" after Macao's return to the motherland in December last year, as well as the social and economic development in the SAR.
The foreign visits are rather fruitful. Portugal and Macao have signed a ten-year agreement which encourages and protects mutual investment. Singapore helps train middle and high-ranking civil servants of Macao, and some Japanese airline companies will start charter flights to Macao next year.
In addition, business people in Singapore, Japan and Macao have agreed to join hands to invest in the Pearl River Delta.
In the year, representatives of the Macao SAR government attended more than 20 international and regional conferences in the categories of woman issue, tourism, trade, customs, health, telecommunications and labor.
On the other hand, government and business delegations came to Macao from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Portugal, Cape Verde, the United States, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, Colombia and Mexico.
Extensive exchanges with the outside world are rewarding. Up to now, 64 countries have recognized the Macao SAR passport, with 58 of which recognizing the Macao SAR travel permit. What's important, nine countries have granted visa-free treatment to the Macao SAR passport holders.
Representatives from the European Union are expected to come to Macao early next year to talk about granting visa-free treatment to Macao residents.
Being part of the motherland, Macao SAR has cemented ties with the Hong Kong SAR and the inland areas of China. Hong Kong and the inland areas are regarded as the essential backing of Macao's future development.
Chief executives of the two SARs have paid official visits to each other, and the exchanges of high-ranking officials are much more frequent.
This year, hundreds of delegations from Macao and the inland areas help enhance mutual exchanges and cooperation in economic, scientific, educational, cultural and judicial fields.
In particular, Macao business people have actively responded to the development of the country's western part. Groups of entrepreneurs have gone to Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Shaanxi to seek business opportunities.
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