Macau, China, 1 Feb – Ambassadors from the Portuguese-speaking countries and representatives of China meet today and Tuesday in Macau to work out future cooperation strategies in the context of the Forum for Economic and Commercial Cooperation.
The Forum’s fifth meeting aims to “sum up activity and look to the future” and will also decide on the date for the ministerial meeting to be held this year, a diplomatic source recently told the Portuguese news agency Lusa.
The gathering will also serve as venue for the new Macau Forum secretary-general, Chan Henxi, to take office at a ceremony attended by the Beijing-accredited ambassadors from Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and East Timor.
Chan Hexi told the O Clarim newspaper last week that the permanent secretariat would make a number of changes to improve its working performance.
China established the Macau Special Administrative Region as its springboard for strengthening economic and commercial cooperation with the Portuguese-speaking countries in 2003, the year it set up the Forum, which holds minister-level meetings every three years.
Trade between China and the Portuguese language countries fell 18.9 percent in 2009 to US$62.46 billion, indicate figures from the Chinese customs administration.
During that period, China sold to the eight Portuguese language countries products worth US$18.85 billion, while acquiring from those same countries goods worth US$43.61 billion.
Brazil continues to be China’s main partner, with a commercial trade volume of US$42.39 billion, 12.90 percent less than between January and December 2008.
With Angola, China’s second partner among the Portuguese language countries, trade stood at US$17.06 billion, 32.60 percent less than in the 12 months of 2008. (macauhub)