Chinese economic power in Lisbon in search of opportunities in Lusophone states

9 November 2009

Lisbon, Portugal, 9 Nov – The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, hosts from Monday hundreds of representatives of Chinese economic influence at the 5th Global China Business Meeting for meetings with political leaders, government officials and business chiefs from Portuguese language countries.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates is a confirmed presence at the event along with counterparts from Mozambique and Cape Verde, Luisa Diogo and Jose Maria Neves, respectively, as well as East Timor’s deputy head of government, Jose Luis Guterres.

Fernando Costa Freire, head of the Edeluc consultancy, said the 300-odd top Chinese company executives come to Lisbon “motivated by the desire of establishing international partnerships with Portuguese language states.”

“These meetings were the first independent summits in which chairman of Chinese firms that have achieved international projection took part,” the head of the consultancy chosen by Swiss company Horasis to promote the encounter told the Expresso weekly newspaper.

The China Business Meeting, added Costa Freire, “is based on the notion that growth strategies in the Sino-global structure need leadership and mutually beneficial international relationship networks.”

Previous meetings have occurred in Geneva, Frankfurt and Barcelona.

The 9-10 Nov event takes place at the Four Seasons Ritz Hotel in the Portuguese capital and is supported by Portugal’s AICEP foreign trade-promotion agency.

Confirmed as attending the gathering are David Li, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia, Mao Zhenhua, chairman of China Chengxin International Credit Rating, Guo Gangchang, chairman of the Fosun group, and Feng Jung, chairman of Aigo.

Other prominent individuals coming to the Lisbon business meeting are Kola Karim of Nigeria’s Shoreline Energy, Alessandro Teixeira, chairman of Brazil’s Apex foreign trade agency, Ricardo Salgado, chairman of Banco Espirito Santo, and BPI chairman Fernando Ulrich.

The central theme of addresses to the gathering will be “China’s contribution to shape the post-crisis world”, organizers said. Parallel events are also being staged to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Republic and 30 years of diplomatic relations with Portugal.

The event is the second major encounter of Chinese entrepreneurs hosted in Lisbon this year after the Portugal-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, where around 150 Portuguese firms attended along with 220 Chinese company leaders and inked important accords involving Mota-Engil and EDP.

Chinese Trade Minister Chen Deming noted at the time “there is some shortfall in Portuguese investment in China which is still small,” but said Beijing is “stimulating Chinese firms to invest in Portugal.”

This encounter occurred during a cooling of trade exchanges between China and Lusophone states due to the worldwide economic crisis.

The latest figures from China’s customs services show that Sino-Lusophone trade fell 29.27 percent from January to September 2009 year-on-year to a value of US$ 43.53 billion. (macauhub)