On September 29, a parallel forum on “Strengthening China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Infrastructure Cooperation, Promoting the Recovery of SMEs” was held at Cotai Expo, The Venetian Macao, during the 13th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF). Secretary-General of the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao, Ji Xianzheng, Acting President of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, Vincent U, Deputy Secretary-General of the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao, Paulo Jorge do Espírito Santo, and Deputy Director of the Department of Commerce of Hunan Province, Li Xinqiu, attended the parallel forum and delivered speeches. More than 120 representatives participated in the event, including those from the Department of Commerce of Hunan Province, Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Commerce, and relevant government departments, business associations and enterprises from Mainland China and Macao.
Secretary-General Ji Xianzheng said infrastructure is not only a key pillar of economic and social development but also an integral part of the economic and trade ties between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), he said, are not only essential pillars that sustain each country’s economic and employment resilience and key links that maintain the stability and competitiveness of industrial and supply chains, but also the very foundations for these countries to achieve common prosperity. He mentioned the Joint Declaration released this April by the Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of Forum Macao, which emphasized the necessity to provide support for the development of SMEs, including strengthening training, improving the availability of funds and promoting cooperation on e-commerce. Going forward, he said, the Permanent Secretariat will work together with relevant departments to improve the creativity and competitiveness of SMEs in Mainland China, Macao, and Portuguese-speaking countries and their employees by offering them more training, promoting cooperation between large companies and SMEs, encouraging SMEs to improve their financing capacity through the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund and other financial institutions, and urging China’s infrastructure enterprises to promote by all means the development of local SMEs in their operations in Portuguese-speaking countries to better adapt to the needs of high-standard, sustainable and people-centered infrastructure. Secretary-General Ji Xianzheng also expressed his expectation that taking this parallel forum as an opportunity, more people could focus on and lend their support to infrastructure cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as the shared development of SMEs of all countries, so as to contribute to the well-being of the people of China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
As Acting President Vincent U pointed out, the focus of this year’s parallel forum is not only on infrastructure cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries but also on the development of SMEs in light of current market needs. He said IPIM will continue to leverage the role of Macao as a platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries and reinforce cooperation between Hengqin and Macao to support more enterprises from China and Portuguese-speaking countries, especially SMEs, in their efforts to achieve more bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, and infrastructure for mutual gains and win-win results.
Deputy Secretary-General Paulo Jorge do Espírito Santo said infrastructure investment and construction have always been a key sector of economic and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. He noted that the governments of both sides have attached great importance to the development of SMEs, adding that both sides are looking forward to enhanced exchanges and cooperation to learn from each other’s experiences and make progress together. He also expressed his expectation that all parties could carry out exchanges to promote pragmatic cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries in the field of infrastructure, continue to empower SMEs, and share the achievements of development.
As Deputy Director Li Xinqiu pointed out, under the Belt and Road Initiative, Hunan has further deepened economic and trade exchanges with Portuguese-speaking countries, adding that the two sides have blazed a trail of win-win cooperation with unique characteristics. During the Second China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE), he said, the hosting of the promotion session for fishery and marine products from China and Portuguese-speaking African countries and the establishment of the Hunan-Macao-Portuguese-speaking African Countries Fishery Service Alliance laid a solid foundation for Hunan to maintain long-term cooperation with Portuguese-speaking African countries. He concluded with his expectation that Hunan and Portuguese-speaking countries could take this parallel forum as an opportunity to seek shared opportunities for a better future.
The panel discussion was moderated by Xu Zhiyu, Managing Director of the Bank of China Macau Branch. The panelists included the Director of the Taxation Bureau of the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, State Taxation Administration of the PRC, Yuan Hongbing; President of the Macao Chamber of Commerce, Ma Chi Ngai Frederico; Chairman of the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund, Song Lei; Acting Deputy Director of the Economic Development Bureau of the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, Zhang Ge; Executive President of Qingjian Group Co., Ltd., Lin Yonghua; General Manager of the International Engineering Department of Beijing Oriental Yuhong Waterproof Technology Co., Ltd., Kou Jianan; Founder of Mushroom Chelian Information Technology Co., Ltd., Zhu Lei; CEO of Beijing Trunk Tech Co., Ltd., Zhang Tianlei; and Secretary-General of the International Universities Innovation Alliance, Sun Wansong. The guest speakers freely exchanged their ideas about a wide range of topics such as how to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs, improve the ability of SMEs to seek financing, promote the innovation of SMEs in Mainland China, Macao, and Portuguese-speaking countries, explore opportunities in building green, low-carbon, intelligent and integrated new infrastructure projects, and create more market opportunities for the recovery and development of SMEs in the post-pandemic era.
During the parallel forum, the release and presentation ceremony of the Report on the Innovation and Entrepreneurship of China and Portuguese-speaking Countrieswas also held by the International Universities Innovation Alliance.