China: Portuguese-speaking countries want greater economic and business communication with Beijing

17 November 2008

Macau, China, 17 Nov – Portuguese-speaking countries are focussed on improving economic and business communication with Beijing, via the Forum Macau, which they see as strengthening relations between China and the Portuguese-speaking world.

The overall positive balance and the promise of greater future efforts came from the Session on Mutual Investment between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, organized in September by the Forum Macau, which recently published the speeches made by the participants.

Delegates from the Portuguese-speaking world were in Xiamen, in Fujian province, to participate in the 12th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT).

Humberto Santos de Brito, secretary of state for the Cape Verde Economy, made one of the strongest appeals for Chinese investment and a strategic partnership between the two countries, with the transformation of Cape Verde into a “secure and competitive platform for the entry of Chinese products into West Africa, as well as the provision of services to the Chinese fishing and mercantile fleets in the Atlantic.”

“We make no secret of our desire to host one of the Chinese Economic Cooperation Zones in S. Vicente, as we already have a well developed and expanding industrial zone and we are seeking partnerships for the building a port in the deep waters of the bay as part of a project which includes the construction of a Free-trade Zone,” said the Cape Verdian minister.

For Guinea Bissau’s minister for Trade, Industry, Energy and Craft , business development is fundamental for the country’s economic recuperation, but also an opportunity to access the West African market with around 265 million consumers.

“The creation of business opportunities, trade promotion, the valuation of the potential in agricultural, industrial and tourism sectors (…) promote the employment of Guinean families particularly our young people and managers,” said the Guinean minister, focussed on returning home with some firm business partnerships.

Mozambique was represented by the Trade and Industry Ministry’s General Inspector, Jose Rodolfo, who highlighted areas with the biggest potential for “immediate exploration,” namely minerals, energy and agricultural, fisheries and water resources, among others.

“Mozambique is the ideal entrance point for the southern region of Africa with its extensive rail and port network serving the hinterland, where Chinese investments are beginning to take shape and we are certain that they will be expanded into infrastructure construction, industry establishment and agricultural sectors,” he said.

Edson Lupatini Junior, Trade and Services Secretary for Brazil’s Ministry of Overseas Development, Industry and Trade, emphasized the growth in economic and trade relations with China and recalled the Brazilian government’s creation of the China Agenda, which brings together private sector representatives of both countries and the respective government officials in ongoing dialogue.

“The commercial ties already in place between Portuguese-speaking countries and China should serve as an incentive for government institutions to promote investments, strengthen economic cooperation and increase commercial exchange between these countries,” he said.

Jiang Zengwei, China’s vice-Trade Minister said that the target for trade growth with Portuguese-speaking countries, as set out in the Trade and Economic Cooperation Action Plan, should be more than met in 2008.

“The creation of Forum Macau is necessary for the development of cooperation and is the result of the wisdom of participating countries, and it is hoped that this valuable mechanism will be esteemed by everyone so that mutual advantages and benefits can be secured, opening a new era of development and cooperation in the context of Forum Macau,” he added. (macauhub)