Portugal-China trilateral cooperation agreement gives new impetus to the Macau Forum

14 November 2016

The signing in October of the trilateral cooperation agreement between Portugal and China will give new impetus to the Macau Forum, enhancing its role of encouraging proximity to Portuguese-speaking countries, said the Chinese ambassador to Portugal, Cai Run.

At the opening last week, the of the 1st Luso-Chinese Youth Forum, at the Institute of Economics and Management, in Lisbon, the diplomat considered the trilateral cooperation agreement as showing that relations between the two countries are experiencing their best ever period.

“With the trilateral cooperation agreement and the Macau Forum, we can develop multilateral cooperation between China, Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries, very well,” the diplomat said at the Forum, which was organised by the Portugal-China League of Multi-secular Friendship and the ChinaLogus research centre.

With the official agreement recently signed between Portugal and China, said Cai Run, a basic legal framework has been set up for cooperation between the parties.

In October, during a visit to China and after signing the trilateral agreement, the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, called it a “bringing together of knowledge and strength,” both parties to “do better” in Portuguese-speaking countries.

During the visit, on the eve of the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Macau Forum, China Three Gorges and EDP agreed to create a common map for investments in Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP), joining together the financial and technological power of China to the ease of contact and historical heritage of Portugal in the relationship with the PALOP.

Researcher Fernanda Ilhéu, coordinator of ChinaLogus – ISEG and one of the organisers of the ISEG meeting, said that cooperation between third markets was first mentioned by Prime Minister Li Keqiang in mid-2015 in contacts in Europe.

Integrated in the “One Belt, One Road” strategy, the initiative, he said, aims to combine China’s production capacity with advanced technology and equipment from European countries to jointly develop markets in developing countries, bringing mutual benefits, including the promotion of industrialisation and economic development in emerging markets.

The visit by António Costa, during which four agreements were signed between governments and five between companies, was mentioned by the Chinese ambassador to demonstrate the “new fruits of cooperation” between Portugal and China at a time of intense exchanges, to such an extent, he said, he had not had time to travel to Beijing to present his annual report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Cai Run further noted that the trend is for growth of investment and that “there are big companies from both countries studying major projects” which, if confirmed, will “further advance investment between the two countries.”

Another factor driving relations, said the Chinese diplomat, is the opening of the Lisbon-Beijing flight by Beijing Capital Airlines from June next year, an initiative that had been “talked about since 1995” and that comes at a time when Chinese tourism to Portugal is on the rise.

“Portugal remains one of the safest countries in Europe and has worked hard to promote the beginning of the flight between the two countries,” said Cai Run.

Present at the opening session, the President of ISEG, Mario Caldeira, said he would like the planes that will link Beijing to Lisbon to not only bring tourists but also come “full of students and teachers and researchers.” (macauhub)