Strategic partnership is priority for China-Portugal relations, Portuguese ambassador says

27 October 2006

Beijing, China, 27 Oct – The Portuguese ambassador to China, António Santana Carlos, who left the post Friday, said that the immediate priority for relations between the two countries was to set up the strategic partnership agreed in December 2005.

Santana Carlos, who is leaving Beijing to become ambassador to the United Kingdom, and will be replaced Saturday by Rui Quartin Santos, told Portuguese news agency Lusa in an interview that “in political terms, the most important thing is to apply the conditions set out in the joint declaration that defines the strategic partnership between Portugal and China.”

In terms of the last four years, in which Santana Carlos has been ambassador to China, he said his most important moments in political terms were the visits by the former Portuguese President, Jorge Sampaio to China at the beginning of 2005 and, in the same year, the official visit by prime minister Wen Jiabao to Portugal.

In terms of economics, Santana Carlos highlighted the opening of the Portuguese consulate-general in Shanghai (China’s economic and financial capital) which is particularly focused on the economy in a region which Carlos said was “the most dynamic in China.”

“In economic terms, there was also progress between 2003 and 2005 as our exports to China quadrupled from 82 million euros in 2002 to 324 million euros in 2005, an important leap, although we should do more,” Santana Carlos said.

“We have to make increased efforts to support small and medium-sized Portuguese companies that are seeking out the Chinese market,” said the ambassador, adding that, “in the contacts that Portuguese business owners have had with the Chinese authorities, they will always have the institutional and diplomatic support of the Portuguese embassy, of the consulate-general in Shanghai and, in southern China’s case, the ICEP delegation in Macau.”

At the end of the 1990s, Santana Carlos headed the transferal of the administration of Macau from Portugal to China on the Portuguese side.

Santana Carlos will be replaced by Rui Quartim Santos, who was until recently secretary-general of the Foreign ministry and a former ambassador to East Timor. (macauhub)