China considers Portugal “important partner” in the “Belt and Road” initiative – Ambassador

20 June 2017

China’s relations with Portugal are “in the best period of their history” and could be reinforced by the Chinese government’s “Belt and Road” initiative, in which Portugal is “an important partner,” said the Chinese ambassador in Lisbon.

Ambassador Cai Run speaking at the Business Opportunities Forum between Portugal, China and Macau, on Monday in Lisbon, organised by the Macau Institute for Trade and Investment the Promotion (IPIM), the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Portuguese Agency for Foreign Investment and Trade (AICEP).

This historic period in bilateral relations, said Cai Run, is based on high-level bilateral contacts, mutual political trust, “pragmatic and fruitful” cooperation, “close communication and coordination in key international and regional affairs,” as well as contact between the people of the two countries.

The results are felt at a trade level, with two-way exchanges amounting to 5.8 billion euros, 29% more than in the same period of last year, and China’s total investment in Portugal exceeding 6 billion euros by the end of 2016, a flow that “grows steadily” and will benefit from the direct air link between Beijing and Lisbon, starting this summer.

The recent Forum on the Belt and Road initiative, Cai Run said, “defined directions and identified projects to be implemented” and, as Portugal is responsible for the “page of the great maritime era,” it is an “important partner” in the initiative.

Kang Wen, director-general of the Ministry of Commerce of China for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, told about 200 business people about the “enthusiasm” felt for the initiative, which is “open to all,” offering allowing “great benefits” through concerted interests and cooperation.

Zhang Wei, the vice-president of the CCPIT, also stressed the importance of the “Belt and Road” initiative and the opportunities it provides, particularly in tourism to Portugal, given that China will soon have 700 million tourists taking foreign holidays.

António Silva, a member of AICEP, said he wanted to “encourage Portuguese companies to establish partnerships with Chinese companies,” pointing to potential sectors such as transport, specifically the port of Sines, but also renewable energy, the economy of the sea and innovation.

According to Jorge Costa Oliveira, the Portuguese secretary of state for internationalisation nowadays there is, “enormous potential in terms of tripartite business cooperation, especially in other geographies,” particularly in Europe, Latin America or Africa, where Portugal has important political relationships.

As for Macau, IPIM President Jackson Chang said he is “actively working on the implementation of various types of support,” such as the financial services platform and the renminbi clearing-house for Portuguese-speaking countries, which highlight the territory’s role as a platform. (macauhub)