Opportunities for Portugal in the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” initiative

3 July 2017

China is extending the geographical scope of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and, according to experts on strategic issues, Portugal will be able to benefit from its inclusion in that strategic initiative launched by the Chinese authorities.

António Costa Silva, chief executive of Partex Oil and Gas, speaking at the end of June at a seminar in Lisbon at the Higher Institute of Economics and Management (ISEG), said that increasing the involvement of Portuguese ports in international maritime traffic networks offered important opportunities for the country.

These opportunities, he said, include “strategic port positioning, openness to new markets, development of information technologies, integration into the global logistics chain, consolidation of a multi-purpose Portuguese port centre that meets the requirements of demand, attract investment to the ports,” as well as better infrastructure.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced in Beijing 540 billion yuan (US$78.2 billion) for projects that integrate the New Silk Road Initiative, an infrastructure project with which China intends to strengthen its trade relationship in Asia, Africa and Europe.

The President also said that China will contribute an additional 100 billion yuan (US$14.5 billion) to the Silk Road Fund, set up in 2014 to finance infrastructure projects and provide assistance, over the next three years, in the amount of 60 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) to developing countries and international organisations taking part in the initiative.

Two banks – the China Development Bank and the Export Import Bank of China – will also provide special loans of up to 380 billion yuan (US$55 billion) to support the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Also at the ISEG conference, “The New Maritime Silk Road and Prospective Geopolitical Changes,” in partnership with the Centre for Africa, Asia and Latin America Studies, researcher Fernanda Ilhéu recalled that Portugal is a founding member of the Asian Investment Bank (AIIB) and underlined recent statements by Chinese diplomatic representatives in Lisbon that Portugal’s position at the heart of the Atlantic Ocean Route could play an essential role in the implementation of “One Belt, One Road” in Europe.

She also recalled statements by the President of China that the “One Belt, One Road” initiative will bring important opportunities for the countries involved and that their geographical area of intervention is something that “is open.”

At the recent Meeting of Entrepreneurs for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries held in June in the city of Praia (Cabo Verde), Kang Wen, head of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, said the initiative is creating new avenues of cooperation, particularly in productive capacity. (macauhub)