A US State Department report has put the spotlight firmly on Macau after it was identified as a potential site for 'terrorist financing activities'. In its latest 'Country Reports on Terrorism 2009', published last week, the US State Department notes several areas where the Macau authorities have made progress to counter money laundering and terrorist financing activities, but stresses that there is still a lot to do. 'Macau's position as a major international gambling centre makes it a potential site for money laundering and terrorist financing activities,' the US State Department said. The report did concede that Macau authorities had taken steps to improve compliance with suspicious transactions reporting requirements in banks, casinos and professional associations, but said 'the threshold reporting limits remain well above international norms'. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) evaluated Macau's Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing regimes, a spokesman for the US consulate general in Hong Kong and Macau said, and established internationally accepted threshold limits. In gaming, for example, FATF recommends that casino operators collect customer data for all transactions exceeding US$3,000. But Macau's threshold reporting in the gaming sector is US$62,500. 'The adoption of threshold limits more in line with international norms could improve this situation,' the spokesman said. But he was not unduly worried by the assessment, saying that the US government works closely with the Hong Kong and Macau authorities, and other regional partners, to strengthen law enforcement agencies' fight to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. 'We collaborate by sharing information on best practices and by conducting training programmes locally, in the United States, and at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok,' the spokesman said. The report also said Macau did not have reporting requirements for cross-border currency movements. 'FATF recommends establishing a system to declare and detect bulk currency going across borders. In Macau, legislation would be needed to accomplish this,' he said. As for Hong Kong, the report said its position as a major transit point for cargo, international finance and people - coupled with its open trade and financial regime - made it a potential site for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. On a more positive note, Hong Kong law enforcement agencies 'provided full support and co-operation to their overseas counterparts in tracing financial transactions suspected of links to terrorist activities, and participated in US government-sponsored training on financial crimes and strategic commodity identification, among other topics'. Hong Kong actively participated in anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing initiatives, the report said. It also noted that China's anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism system was significantly strengthened last year, although several key deficiencies had yet to be addressed.