Mainland law prevails in commercial disputes on Hengqin

When commercial disputes arise in the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone on Hengqin, mainland law will apply, Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, said yesterday.
The government is set to host a series of media briefings to introduce the Master Plan on the Cooperation Zone. Yesterday’s session was presided by Lei, and focused on his sector.
Lei’s revelation came in response to media asking if a Macau or foreign company that has offices in Hengqin fall into a commercial dispute, whether mainland or Macau will have prevailing legal authority over the case.
The senior official began by saying the commercial disputes happen in all places of commercial activity. He assured that Hengqin will have mediation and arbitration channels for handling these cases.
“In addition, there will be corresponding judicial measures,” he added. “These areas will be polished gradually to construct a free, fair and transparent commercial environment.”
Nonetheless, he did not give a direct response about which legal system would have jurisdiction. Therefore, he was then asked to clarify on this point.
“On this matter, we abide with the territorial principle and so commercial disputes will [be subject] to the laws of mainland China,” Lei said.
On the currency used in the Cooperation Zone, Lei revealed that Chinese yuan will be used in all transactions. This means that the national currency will be the legal tender, as well as the means and medium of exchange within the Cooperation Zone, despite the Zone being co-administered by both Guangdong and Macau.
“It is similar to mainland tourists spending in Macau,” Lei said, adding that the Macau pataca can be exchanged in Hengqin for the Chinese yuan. However, considering that the Chinese yuan and Hong Kong Dollars are widely accepted in Macau, the pataca may be accepted by businesses within the Cooperation Zone in the future.
Lei added that civil servants representing Macau to work in the Cooperation Zone will have their salaries paid in patacas.
Lei believed that the Macau brand will be popular in the Cooperation Zone. Nonetheless, he stressed that Macau is not selling its products in Hengqin. Instead, it should promote and market itself as a brand.
“Tourists who come to spend in Macau have faith in the quality of commodities sold here,” Lei expressed. “Frankly, many souvenirs we see in Macau are manufactured on the mainland.”
In terms of financial income, the senior official introduced on the revenue sharing scheme, which stipulates that return on investment made prior to 2024 will remain in the Administration Committee of the Cooperation Zone. The funds will be used for the zone’s future development.
As for commercial development, the Cooperation Zone will focus on synergic collaboration in the tourism and MICE trades. For instance, the government boasts Macau’s MICE software and hardware and will attempt to attract or stage larger events.
Furthermore, the tourism industry can develop newer products that incorporates the island nature of Hengqin and the resort nature of Macau.
In his opening speech, the Secretary attributed Macau’s development difficulties to its geographical limitations and the dominance of a single industry.
Like every other government official, Lei is confident that the additional 106 square kilometers of geographical space on Hengqin Island will help achieve economic diversification and livelihood stability.
Today, the government will host the last session in the series of briefings. It will be co-chaired by Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak and Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário.

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