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China mulls authorizing jurisdiction of Macao's port zone at Hengqin to Macao SAR

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-10-22 14:00

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in South China. [Photo/VCG]

BEIJING -- China's top legislature on Monday started reviewing a draft decision on authorizing the jurisdiction of Macao's port zone at Hengqin port and extended areas in south China's Guangdong province to the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The draft decision is among bills submitted to the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for review.

The current model of passing customs and the setting of the ports can no longer meet the needs by the growing personnel exchanges and trade on the back of the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, said Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, who explained the draft decision to the session.

As Hengqin port connects the southern coastal city Zhuhai with Lotus port in Macao, the Macao SAR government proposed moving Lotus port to Hengqin port to simplify the customs procedures in August 2018, which was later approved by the State Council in principle.

To complete the move, such authorization of jurisdiction must be implemented, according to Deng.

The draft decision expounds on the range of the aforementioned extended areas and notes that the Macao SAR will possess the right to utilize Macao's port zone at Hengqin port and extended areas on lease until Dec. 19, 2049. The lease can be extended with the decision of the NPC Standing Committee.

Lawmakers will deliberate the draft decision in panel discussions on Tuesday.

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