China: Over one hundred high-level visits boost relations with Portuguese-speaking countries

23 March 2009

Macau, China, 23 Mar – Over one hundred high-level visits helped to boost relations between China and Portuguese-speaking countries in 2008, the best year ever for multilateral trade, with notable progress also made in cooperation and culture.

According to the report recently published by the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macau, the meetings between high-level officials contributed to “creating excellent opportunities for development to raise the level of cooperation in all areas and increase economic and commercial trade between the member countries of the Forum Macau.”

The Forum highlights twelve visits by leaders, in particular, three meetings between the Chinese President, Hu Jintao and the Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

At the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing the Angolan President was present, José Eduardo dos Santos, who made another official visit to China in December, as well as the Presidents of Mozambique, Armando Gebuza, of East Timor, José Ramos-Horta and the first lady of Cape Verde, Adélcia Pires.

Last year was also marked by the President of Guinea Bissau, João Bernardo Vieira’s visit to Beijing and Macau, on one of his last high-level foreign visits before his assassination at the start of this month.

In the other direction, visits to Brazil and Angola by He Guoqiang, permanent member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, the visit to Brazil of the Chinese Military Commission, Colonel General, Xu Caihou and the visit to Portugal of the vice chairman of the Permanent Commission of the People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and member of the Politburo of the Central Commission for the Communist Party of China, Wang Gang, were highlighted.

“With the privileged role of Forum Macau, economic and commercial cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries is showing ever increasing dynamism. Bilateral trade has broken record after record, surpassing the target of US$50 billion established at the 2nd Ministerial Conference, ahead of schedule” says the report.

As regards investment, the results were “significant” and in the case of China include the areas of “metalworking, textiles, light industry, agricultural cooperation and exploration of natural resources.”

As regards aid, China has strengthened its support within the framework of the Forum Macau and agreements have been signed for granting preferential loans to Cape Verde, for the state electrical grid project, and to the government of Mozambique for the purchase of agricultural equipment in the Zambezi Valley.

Also in the area of technical cooperation, the target has been met ahead of time: “since the 2nd Ministerial Conference of the Forum Macau in 2006, over one thousand experts and technical personnel from Portuguese-speaking countries have participated in various activities for cooperation in the area of human resource development in China, which achieved its goal of creating 900 jobs, as defined in the Conference, within a year.”

The Forum also underlines the Permanent Secretariat’s “organization of and active participation in initiatives to promote trade and investment,” having participated in China’s Import and Export Fair held in Cantão (Feira de Cantão), as well as official visits to Portugal, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau and Brazil.

It has also held various meetings attended by ministers for Economic and Commercial Issues from Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as a Session on Mutual Investment at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen (CIFIT).

Within the framework of the Forum Macau, an Investment Working Party (GTI) has also been set up, launched 28 May 2008 in Praia, Cabo Verde. (macauhub)