The Seminar on Economy and Trade between China, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Countries – “Introduction of Projects under the Co-operation and Development Fund between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries” was held at 3pm on June 17. The venue was the auditorium of aicep Portugal Global – Trade & Investment Agency, in the country’s capital Lisbon.
The Seminar had two main topics: the Co-operation and Development Fund between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries; and the trade and investment environment in China.
China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce, Ms Gao Yan, attended the Lisbon Seminar, and gave a speech.
The Director General of the firm managing the Co-operation and Development Fund between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, Ms Jin Guangze; the Coordinator of the Support Office of the Permanent Secretariat of Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao), Ms Echo Chan; members of the Chinese Economic and Trade Delegation; the administrator of aicep – Trade & Investment Agency, Mr José Vital Morgado; business people from China and Portugal; and a staff member from China’s People’s Daily newspaper, also attended the event.
Mr Morgado made the opening speech, welcoming respectively: the Vice-Minister of Commerce of China, Ms Gao; the Deputy Director General of the Department of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Sun Tong; the Deputy Director General of the Department of Europe Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Ma She; and other members of the Economic and Trade Delegation from China.
Mr Morgado said that China is an important and strategic market for Portugal, and that both countries are trying to strengthen bilateral relations. Through Macao, Portugal also aims to deepen the historic and cultural ties that for centuries have linked Portugal to China, he added.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Portugal. This status derives from the historic and cultural ties between the two countries and recognises the relationship that Portugal has with other Portuguese-speaking Countries. Portugal is one of only five European countries granted strategic partnership status by China.
China has additionally boosted economic and trade co-operation with Portuguese-speaking Countries in Africa. Portuguese enterprises have a good knowledge of those markets, as well as of the Brazilian market. This know-how creates new business opportunities for Portuguese companies, and also contributes to overall economic and trade co-operation between all the sides.
In her speech, China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce Ms Gao highlighted the positive results achieved since the creation of Forum Macao in 2003. She said Forum Macao makes use of the Portuguese language to connect China, Macao, and the Portuguese-speaking Countries, strengthening co-operation and exchanges in the areas of trade, investment and education.
China’s trade with Portuguese-speaking countries amounted to about US$132.4 billion in 2014, up by 12.4 times from 2003. Currently, China is in aggregate terms the second biggest trade partner of Portuguese-speaking Countries. China is the major trade partner of Brazil and Angola, and China is also – among Asian countries – the biggest trade partner of Portugal.
Investment in China by Portuguese-speaking Countries has also been growing. Both sides have been diversifying areas of investment and expanding the way those investments are made.
At Forum Macao’s inception in 2003, there were seven areas of investment and co-operation. Currently, there are 17, including: government; enterprises; trade; agriculture; infrastructure; natural resources; education and human resources; tourism; transport and communication; finance; and culture.
China and Portugal can enhance further this bilateral co-operation given the strong potential for investment in both directions, said Ms Gao. In recent years, Portugal has been an important access point for Chinese companies to enter the European market – a reason why that investment relationship has been growing so rapidly, she said.
According to data from China, by the end of 2014, Chinese investment in Portugal had grown to US$6.22 billion, including: the acquisition of electricity generating firm Energias de Portugal by China Three Gorges Corporation, the acquisition of a stake in electricity and gas infrastructure concessionaire Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN) of Portugal by State Grid Corporation of China; and the acquisition of the insurance arm of Portuguese national bank Caixa Geral de Depositos S.A. by Fosun International.
In order to facilitate and promote the investment between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, the Co-operation and Development Fund between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries was created in 2013, within the framework of Forum Macao. Macao, as an important trade and economic platform between China and Lusophone countries, is committed to assisting the Fund in its objectives.
During the Seminar, Ms Jin made a presentation about the Co-operation and Development Fund between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries and its development plans.
She said the idea for the Fund was first mentioned during the 3rd Ministerial Conference under Forum Macao in 2010. The Fund was created in 2013, with a commitment to US$1 billion in resources.
The Fund aims to promote investment between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, and the growth of enterprises engaged in such trade, thereby promoting social and economic development among the participating countries. Its establishment was an important step in deepening existing economic and trade co-operation between the two sides and incentivising new links.
The Coordinator of the Support Office of the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao, Ms Echo Chan, gave a brief presentation about Forum Macao, as well as about an online initiative launched in April 2015. The initiative is known as the Economic and Trade Co-operation and Human Resources Portal between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries. The Portal provides an online platform for communication, interaction and information sharing for bilingual professionals and for enterprises from China and Portuguese-speaking Countries. Its services include: trade and economic information about each country; information about food products from Lusophone countries; and information about trade fairs and exhibitions. The Portal allows companies and investors easy access to information about the different markets. The initiative aims to strengthen further Macao’s role as a trade and economic service platform, as well as promoting collaboration and business opportunities between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.
Forum Macao was established in October 2003 in Macao, between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and East Timor.
The objective was to promote the development of economic and trade ties between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, and to strengthen Macao’s role as a trade and economic service platform, promoting Macao’s collaboration and business opportunities with Mainland China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.
At the Lisbon Seminar, which had dozens of attendees, Ms Jin and Ms Chan also responded to several queries from business people and reporters during a question and answer session.
Source: People’s Daily/News about Portugal