Macau, China, 13 March – China has “opened the door” for Sao Tome and Principe to be part of the Forum for Economic and Commercial Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries, the new permanent secretary-general for the Forum, Zhao Chuang said Wednesday in Macau.
Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, Zhao said that the fact that a minister from Sao Tome took part in the Forum in 2006 was a symbolic step and that, in line with the Forum’s objectives, China has “the door open to all Portuguese-speaking countries that want to take part.”
Sao Tome is the only Portuguese-speaking country that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Zhao, who was previously a commercial advisor at the International Cooperation Department of the Chinese Trade Ministry, said that he would now focus on “promoting economic and commercial affairs,” between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, and “work to carry out the plan of action for cooperation from the second ministerial conference in 2006.”
Zhao also said that in 2008 trade between China and the Portuguese-speaking companies was expected to exceed US$50 billion, a figure which was initially expected to be reached at the end of 2009.
Trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries rose 35 pct in 2007 to US$46.35 billion.
Created in 2003, Forum Macau is organized by the government of the Special Administrative Region of Macau, which has been given the role of bridge to the Portuguese-speaking world, and every three years organizes a ministerial conference. (macauhub)