International Institute of Macau marks first decade of SARM with book on economic relations

18 January 2010

Lisbon, Portugal, 18 Jan – The International Institute of Macau (IIM) has marked the 10th anniversary of the Special Administrative Region of Macau by publishing a book about the territory’s role in boost economic relations between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

“Macau and China/Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic Relations: 1999-2009 – Ten Years of Growth” was launched in Lisbon on 14 January, at the Palace of Independence, at an event attended by Jorge Rangel, chairman of the IIM, Francisco Mantero, chairman of the executive Commission of the ELO and secretary-general of the Business Council of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, as well as a representative of the Chinese embassy in Lisbon.

“China has become Brazil’s biggest trading partner and the biggest foreign investor in the group of eight Portuguese-speaking States,” Mantero noted in his speech.

Investment, he said, had risen, but “there is still a lot to do in trade,” with Macau’s support and that of the new Business Confederation of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries.

“The CPLP Business Council on becoming a Business Confederation, now has greater capacity to intervene not only in Portuguese-speaking countries but also on an international level,” said Mantero.

“Macau has a simple taxation system with reduced taxes, it is an independent customs area and can play the role of a business platform. Portuguese-speaking investors can make use of advantages to set up in China, boosting partnerships with Chinese companies,” he said.

The Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries has, according to Mantero, boosted that position, and could also have a greater role to play in training technicians from Portuguese-speaking countries.

“Macau is the point of contact in China’s relations not only in Africa but also in Brazil. It has an important business community and has the Portuguese language, the economic value of which was promoted by the Camões Institute.”

The development of the Pearl River Delta region was also noted as being central to the future of economic relations.

“It will be one of the most dynamic regions in China within a few years. And a very good consumer market,” Mantero explained.

Published in the last quarter of 2009, “Macau and China/Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic Relations: 1999-2009 – Ten Years of Growth” was drawn up by a team of journalists from the Macaulink media group in partnership with Delta Edições.

“The information can be used by businesspeople and will be published in English and Chinese,” said Jorge Rangel.

“The publication marks the commemoration of the first decade of the SARM and the 10th anniversary of the IIM, which was set up in 1999. The Institute is expected to carry out new initiatives over the next few years,” he said.

Rangel noted that there was an aim to turn Macau into an educational centre and called on the need for the Chinese model to be “observed” by Western countries such as Portugal.

“On the one hand we have China with its great dynamism and, on the other, an aging Europe. Development will depend on partnerships between the State and private business. There is a need to attract investment.”

“Whilst the Portuguese government wants to get maximum taxes from selling a car, for example, Macau wants to get a minimum, as that way it will sell more,” he explained. “Portugal should not turn its back on it original precursor. It needs to look at the Chinese model to be successful.”

The speeches led to much debate about the exportability of the Chinese model, brought up by economist Jorge Braga de Macedo.

Fernanda Ilhéu, the former general secretary of the Portuguese-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted the need for investment, “without which there is no business.”

The International Institute of Macau is preparing the launch of editions of the book in English and Chinese. (macauhub)