Macau will always have a role to play in Portugal’s relationship with China, as the relationship began with Macau and has become stronger through it, the new Portuguese consul-general told the Plataforma newspaper.
Paulo Cunha Alves also said that China itself will have an advantage in listening to what the Macau government has to say about how to develop the relationship with Portugal and added, “Macau will always have a contribution because there will be entrepreneurs, managers, lawyers involved in the business processes on both sides.”
The diplomat, when asked how Portugal could benefit from its inclusion in China’s ‘Belt & Road’ initiative, said that the virtue of the initiative is to be able to develop the existing privileged relationship between the two countries, deepening it in terms of economic relations and human contacts.
“When we talk about economic investments we have to mention the movement of communities from one country to another, and about tourism, because there will certainly be an increase, and it is these flows and human contacts that will help strengthen the bilateral relationship, and Portugal has to take advantage in various fields – economic, commercial, business and tourism and language,” he said.
Alves also said he viewed the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay project as an opportunity to assert the Portuguese community and culture and stressed that “the Portuguese language could be the business lifeblood of Macau.”
The beginning of construction of this project could lead the Portuguese community to extend the scope of its intervention and leave Macau to contribute in other cities in the region, where, although there is no significant Portuguese community, economic interests are beginning to emerge.
The consul-general recalled the opening of a Portuguese consulate in Guangzhou in 2018, which will serve to develop further exchange with Macau in terms of companies, law firms and other interests.
He also noted the issue of language, given the interest shown in China, as demonstrated by the number of universities with Portuguese language courses, adding that cities around Macau in Guangdong province will be interested in deepening the relationship and in hiring staff that speak the language so they can do business with the Portuguese-speaking world.
Alves told the Platforma newspaper that the Portuguese expatriate community in both Macau and Hong Kong, covered by the consulate, ranges from 6,000 to 7,000 people, and the number of Portuguese passport holders in the two special administrative regions is between 165,000 and 170,000. (macauhub)