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Jul 04, 2011, No. 048

  • Date:2011-07-04

New Progress in Taiwan-Macao Relations Taiwan's Macao Office to be Renamed and its Functions and Status Upgraded


        Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Lai Shin-yuan announces formally at a press conference today (July 4, 2011) that the Taiwan government's representative office in Macao, known currently as the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Center," will be renamed as the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Office." At the same time, the substantive functions and status of the Office will be upgraded. The Macao government has also agreed to grant Taiwan's personnel stationed in Macao preferential arrangements similar to those enjoyed by other diplomatic personnel. This represents a major advancement in Taiwan's relations with Macao, the Minister says.


The MAC states that Taiwan's representative office in Macao was originally registered in 1989, under its Portuguese trade name instead of a Chinese name. Later in 1990, the Office added a Chinese name and its English equivalent of the "Taipei Trade and Tourism Office." However, due to the special circumstances of the period and place during the Office's establishment, its legal status and the rights of its staff lacked explicit guarantees. Therefore, Taiwan has hoped for many years to improve this situation. In March this year (2011), the Macao Office of the Chief Executive submitted formally to Taiwan a concrete plan to establish an office in Taiwan. The MAC also proposed that the external name of Taiwan's Macao office be renamed and that its functions and status upgraded. After consultations, the two sides have finally reached a major consensus true to the principles of goodwill, pragmatism, and reciprocity. This marks a new milestone in the positive development of Taiwan-Macao relations.


Regarding Taiwan's representative office in Macao—the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center, the Macao government has agreed to the Office's renaming as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, effective immediately. It has also removed quota restrictions on the number of personnel allowed to staff the Office. The Office’s functions will include promoting exchanges and cooperation between Taiwan and Macao in economic, trade, tourism, technology, environmental protection, educational, medical, health, cultural, and creativity fields. The Macao government has also agreed to provide Taiwan's Macao office and its personnel with various operational courtesies, including reasonable lengths of stay for Taiwan’s personnel stationed in Macao and their families, exemption from visa fees, exemption from salaries tax, airport and port restricted area pick-up and see-off transportation for major Taiwan officials or VIPs based on operational needs, and use of courtesy channels and facilities; it has also ensured the legal status of Taiwan’s Macao office as well as the relevant rights of its personnel. All of these will help the Office promote operations in the future.


As for the establishment of an office in Taiwan by the Macao government, Taiwan's Executive Yuan has granted approval for it to establish the Macao Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan, according to the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau. The Macao government will dispatch incumbent personnel to staff the Office, whose main functions will be to promote exchange and cooperation between Taiwan and Macao in economic, trade, tourism, culture, and other areas, as well as to provide emergency assistance and other services to Macao residents in Taiwan. The operational functions of the Office will also include strengthening joint crime-fighting and judicial mutual assistance and cooperation between Macao and Taiwan.


The MAC states that, improvements in cross-strait relations over the past three years have further broadened Taiwan's international space and advanced relations with Macao, enabling Taiwan to play a more active role in the activities of the international community and the Asia-Pacific region as well as to manifest the prominence of Taiwan's identity. All of these are the hard-won results achieved over the past three years.