The 15th Ordinary Meeting of the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Forum Macao) was held in Macao on October 21. The meeting was attended by about 30 representatives from, respectively: the People’s Republic of China, including from the Ministry of Commerce; Ambassadors to Beijing of Portuguese-speaking Countries; the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR); and the Trade Office and the Economic Affairs Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR. The annual meeting was hosted by Mr Ding Tian, Deputy Secretary-General of the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao. A review of the work carried out by Forum Macao in 2019 and the first three quarters of 2020, was presented at the meeting, and the plan was approved for the fourth-quarter 2020 activities of the Permanent Secretariat.
In 2019, the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao had focused on enhancing trade and investment, promoting production-capacity cooperation, carrying out human resource training, conducting cultural exchanges between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, and providing support for the development of Macao’s platform role. Forum Macao had also made a great effort to promote and implement the goals set during the 5th Ministerial Conference of Forum Macao, as well as to advance the preparatory work for the 6th Ministerial Conference. The Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao had also taken advantage of critical opportunities for development in a new era, making use of Macao’s leading position within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Macao’s position as a contributor to the “Belt and Road” initiative. Forum Macao did so in order actively to promote deeper integration between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, and to facilitate the Macao SAR Government’s continuous efforts to develop the city’s role as a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.
During 2020, the 6th Ministerial Conference of Forum Macao had been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter also affected a number of exchange activities under the framework of Forum Macao, and the work of the Permanent Secretariat. So far during 2020, the Permanent Secretariat had continued to promote Macao’s platform role, by actively assisting Forum Macao and Portuguese-speaking Countries in overcoming challenges posed by the pandemic. Forum Macao had also adjusted its work plan due to the pandemic. Steps included making use of Internet resources to carry out online activities, while steadily promoting in-person activities when conditions allowed them.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, the Permanent Secretariat will continue to dedicate its efforts to promoting: trade and investment between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries; people-to-people exchanges; cooperation between provinces and cities on both sides; and the role of Forum Macao; as well as further boosting cooperation efforts against the pandemic. The Permanent Secretariat will also actively explore new models to promote exchanges, enhance cooperation in a post-pandemic era, and prepare for economic recovery.
Representatives from the Participating Countries in Forum Macao expressed their appreciation for the Permanent Secretariat’s timely adjustment to its work plan and work methods, which had contributed to Forum Macao making remarkable achievements during the reporting period. Representatives also said they appreciated the work of the Permanent Secretariat in supporting Portuguese-speaking Countries in their fight against the pandemic.
All participating delegations exchanged views on international cooperation concerning preventive work in the fight against the pandemic. The head of China’s delegation tabled relevant proposals and plans for partnership with Portuguese-speaking Countries in carrying out international cooperation in fighting against COVID-19. The plans involved making use of Macao’s role as a platform. The delegations of Portuguese-speaking Countries, and representatives of the Macao SAR Government expressed their willingness to take part in those plans, expressing respectively also their wish that all parties should further strengthen collaboration regarding economic recovery and development in a post-pandemic world.
Changes to the membership of the Permanent Secretariat were also reported at the meeting. They included announcements that: Secretary-General Ms Xu Yingzhen, and Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Rodrigo Brum had ended their terms in office; and that Mr Espírito Santo had been named by the Portuguese-speaking Countries as a Deputy Secretary-General; that Dr. Eduardo Velasco Galiano had been appointed by Angola as the country’s representative to Forum Macao; and that there were new focal points for the relevant Portuguese-speaking Countries in Forum Macao.