Blind Protectionism - Plataforma Media

Blind Protectionism

Guilherme Rego

Protecting the local labor market will always have to be a priority. But there are others… that in Macau do not go hand in hand.

The pandemic context certainly doesn’t help, but it doesn’t serve as a justification to reject the idea that outside workers and companies (whether from abroad or from the Mainland) can indeed be an important contribution to the city. Today we are overwhelmed by the difficulties imposed by the virus, and we forget that there is a tomorrow.

The future is prepared in the present, and Macau’s plans are of such magnitude that they are easily incompatible with short-term decisions.

Genting’s refusal is a clear example. The argument given for not awarding a concession was local employment stability (in a troubled period).

Read also: Gambling in Macau: Genting forces bigger investment from the “Big Six”

We are talking about a concession valid for ten years… But in the end, the present outweighed the future. I am not saying that Genting would do a better job.

The ‘big six’ know the city better, are more aligned with its goals, and have done immeasurable work over the last two decades, not to mention the pandemic period. But if today had such an impact on the decision, why not postpone the contest? The doubt in Genting’s exclusion lies mainly in the argument used.

After three years, the pandemic no longer serves as an umbrella. We look at neighboring regions and see a fairly comprehensive investment attraction plan in Guangdong and the use of autonomy for the same purpose in Hong Kong.

Also read: COVID-19: four more infection cases confirmed in Macau

They have found a way to navigate the storm, making up for lost time. Macau sees the storm – and backs off. However, the longer it takes, the greater the cost in the end.

The government promotes the protection of local workers, blind to the opportunities presented by foreigners. Foreign companies and talent do not come to Macau to “steal” jobs from locals.

They come to diversify sources of income, to lend know-how, to give an innovative mentality to a land that has lost it. The official position goes against the internationalization strategy of Macau, which needs a modern, flexible and diversified socioeconomic environment.

There are very interesting opportunities for Macau. One of them already built: the low tax burden in the MSAR can attract multinationals, which can multiply employment opportunities for locals.

Read also: “Macau is not a priority for Portuguese exports and investment”

Creating jobs for residents is about letting in foreign capital and know-how, because this diversifies and increases supply.

At the current juncture, foreign companies that could enrich Macau are blocked by a model that refuses resident tickets and work permits.

There are cases that are even ridiculous: the CEO of a foreign company, who i

Some cases are even ridiculous: the CEO of a foreign company that invested and created jobs here, in order to renew the IRB, had to place an ad for his own position in the newspapers, thus proving that there was no local talent to replace him.

What is obvious is that if there was, the company would leave. It would not create jobs for anyone. There are those who want to come; but you have to let them in – and stay.

*Executive Director of PLATAFORMA

Este artigo está disponível em: Português 繁體中文

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