Conducting external trade activities in the Macao Special Administrative Region

To conduct any import or export trade activities in the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), external trade operators are required to apply for licences from competent authorities or submit declarations to the Macao Customs Service (SA) in accordance with the External Trade Law. Whether for licences or declarations, the respective customs declaration can be made in paper form or electronically.

According to the External Trade Law, or Law No. 7/2003 revised by Law No. 3/2016, natural or legal persons who have proven their fulfilment in the MSAR of tax obligations, especially income tax and consumption tax, are allowed to conduct external trade activities. The export, import and transhipment of goods are all external trade activities, which can be categorized into licensing regime and declaration regime.

1. Licensing Regime

Goods subject to licensing regime are published in the Table of Exports (Table A) and Table of Imports (Table B) or specific legislation. The Table of Exports and Table of Imports currently in force are contained in Annex II to Chief Executive’s Decision No. 209/2021, Chief Executive’s Decision No. 188/2022, Annex II to Chief Executive’s Decision No. 208/2022 and Chief Executive’s Decision No. 110/2023. Import or export of goods listed on the Table of Imports/Table of Exports requires, prior to customs declaration, an import/export licence issued by the competent authorities listed in Article 3A of the Regulation on External Trade Operations, or Administrative Regulation No. 28/2003 amended by Administrative Regulation Nos. 19/2016, 35/2021, 45/2022 and 27/2023.

For goods regulated by specific legislation mainly for the purpose of fulfilling obligations under international conventions and agreements, e.g. ozone-depleting substances, endangered wildlife animal and plant species, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, rough diamonds, etc., their import, export or transhipment shall be subject to a licence issued by the competent authority(ies) referred to in the corresponding specific legislation.

At present, there are nine licence-issuing authorities in Macao:

Licence-issuing authority Group Category of goods
Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) A Live animals, chilled and fresh meat, live fish, dairy products, etc.
Pharmaceutical Administration Bureau (ISAF) B1 Medicines (proprietary Western medicine, proprietary Chinese medicine), reagents, infant milk powder, chemicals, disinfectants and pesticides, regulated medical devices, etc.
Health Bureau (SSM) B2 Radioactive chemical elements and radioactive isotopes, glands and other organs for organo-therapeutic uses, blood plasma, human blood, animal blood, apparatus based on the use of radiations.
Economic and Technological Development Bureau (DSEDT) C Products subject to consumption tax (tobacco and spirituous liquor), petroleum products, CITES-listed endangered species and products thereof, rough diamonds, precursors of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, optical discs and manufacturing equipment thereof, etc.
Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau (CTT) D Regulated radiocommunication equipment
Public Security Police Force (CPSP) E Arms and ammunition
Transport Bureau (DSAT) F Motor vehicles
Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) G Some chemicals subject to environmental protection conventions
Fire Services Bureau (CB) H Dangerous goods

Refer to Chief Executive’s Decision No. 209/2021188/2022208/2022 and 110/2023 for detailed classification.

In addition, a licence is valid for 30 days from the date of issue (20 days from the date of issue for licences related to dangerous goods). It should be applied for from the issuing entity prior to import, export or transhipment of goods and shall be submitted to the SA for customs clearance at the time of the import, export or transhipment of the goods.

2. Declaration Regime

For other goods, which are not subject to the licensing regime stated above, with a value exceeding MOP 5,000, or with a value not exceeding MOP 5,000 but being a part of a whole operation with a value exceeding MOP 5,000, their import, export or transhipment shall be declared to the SA by means of declaration in accordance with the External Trade Law.

In addition, declaration is required for all external trade of dangerous substances or dangerous goods classified under the Legal Regime for Regulation of Dangerous Goods, or Law No. 12/2022, and its supplementary legislation. Declaration is required if licensing is not required, regardless of the value or quantity of the goods, personal use or other purposes, or whether it is in personal baggage for personal use.

Enquiries of detailed customs declaration and clearance procedures can be made to the SA. (By phone: 89894317, e-mail: or visiting


Customs Declaration Methods

1. Customs Declaration in Paper Form

Paper-based licences and declarations are available for purchase at the following locations:

  • Government Printing Bureau (Address: Multifunctional Government Building, Lot O1 in Pac On, Taipa, Macao)
  • First Floor of Macao Government Services Centre (Address: 1st Floor, 52 Rua Nova da Areia Preta, Macao)

2. Electronic Customs Declaration

Apart from submission in paper form, external trade operators may also perform customs declaration by electronic means (Electronic Data Interchange, EDI).

Electronic Customs Declaration

The MSAR Government has been implementing EDI-based electronic customs declaration since 2000. Electronic customs declaration services are now available at the SA, IAM, ISAF, DSEDT, CTT, CPSP and DSAT. By logging in to the EDI-based electronic customs declaration service platform via Internet or mobile app, external trade operators can submit applications or customs declaration information to the relevant licence-issuing authorities or the SA for paperless approval and replies free of charge. The submission process is fast and convenient, while reducing errors from manual inputting and saving other operational costs and time.
Besides external trade licences and declarations, the platform also provides a number of other services, including inspection and quarantine appointment booking, e-manifest submission, Certificate of Origin application, declaration for relocation of production process abroad and submission of Certificates of Origin Request Form, among others.
EDI-based electronic customs declaration services are currently available for the import and export of most of the goods subject to licences or declarations.

With the DSEDT committed to promoting the application and development of electronic customs declaration, more services will be available at the EDI-based electronic customs declaration service platform in the future to facilitate the external trade declaration and import/export activities of external trade operators under the Single Window.

Benefits of Electronic Customs Declaration:

  • Provides enhanced and streamlined processes and functions.
  • Breaks free of working hour and location constraints on customs declaration.
  • Secures declaration information with digital encryption.
  • Allows frequently used information, product information and commodity codes, etc. to be saved as templates for future uses. This speeds up inputting and enables quick search for past application records or approved documents, thus enhancing efficiency.
  • Charges no fees and saves the costs of buying paper-based documents.