The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has undergone prominent changes since the handover in 1999, said Macao's Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah on Tuesday.
Ho reviewed the SAR government's work in the fiscal year of 2004 in his Policy Address delivered at the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
Ho said in the fifth year of his administration, all positive elements in the economy and social development have yielded initial effects. In the year 2004, the government's policy priority has been given to consolidating and expanding these positive factors.
Ho said the practices of the "one country, two systems" principle in Macao has entered a new era this year, in which the election for the second chief executive was held.
In this year, the government has pragmatically carried out the administrative reform including streamlining the operation, building the infrastructure of the e-government, simplifying administrative formalities and improving the transparency of the government's work, said Ho.
He stated that Macao's pillar industries of gaming and tourism have grown by leaps and bounds, and have been further fueled by the mainland' s implementation of facilitated individual travel measures on Macao-bound tours over the past year.
He added that the government has set up special task-forces to rationalize the economic structure. As part of the efforts, the Zhuhai-Macao Cross-Border Industrial Park was set up this year, and the government launched three financial assistance projects in encouraging the development of small and medium-sized firms.
"The Macao SAR government's endeavor in optimizing the economic environment has been recognized internationally. The Macao SAR has been listed as one of the freest economy for trade and investment in the World Trade Organization's evaluation," said the chief executive.
During this year, Macao has substantially enhanced its cooperation with neighboring regions. The Macao SAR government has been actively promoting the set-up of the cooperation framework in the Pan-Pearl River Delta region, said Ho.