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Portuguese-Speaking Countries to Develop Cooperation with China Through Forum Macau

Portuguese-Speaking Countries to Develop Cooperation with China Through Forum Macau

The development of cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries through Forum Macau was the focus of speeches by member state representatives on 22 April at the opening of the organisation’s sixth ministerial conference.

In his first speech, the vice-chairman of the standing committee of the Chinese National People’s Assembly, Li Hongzhong, defended the need to strengthen Macau’s role in co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries for the “joint construction of an open and inclusive world economy”.

To this end, the official, who is also a politburo member of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, proposed incentives for exports from China, such as credit insurance, and also more trade agreements to speed up the import of Portuguese-speaking products.

Representing the Portuguese government, the Minister of Economy defended the need to continue “taking advantage of the potential” of Forum Macau as a “privileged platform for continuous and fruitful dialogue” between China and the Portuguese-speaking bloc.

“We hope that the Forum will increasingly assert itself as a true platform for co-operation at the service of common development, with tangible results for all,” said Pedro Reis.

For the coming years, the “main challenge will be to increasingly consolidate its added value and distinctive brand”, with Macau having a “crucial role to play in boosting the Forum’s activities”, centred on dialogue, cooperation and joint work.

The Portuguese minister recalled that the creation of Forum Macau in 2003 represents “China’s recognition of the strategic value of the linguistic and cultural heritage in the territory and of the economic importance” of the Portuguese-speaking countries.

The representatives of the nine Portuguese-speaking countries present at Forum Macau’s sixth ministerial conference stressed the importance of the organisation as a mechanism for solidarity and bilateral cooperation, but also the need to strengthen the development of business opportunities, while praising China’s persistence in maintaining this platform for cooperation between member states.

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wengtao said that the new 2024-27 action plan, to be approved this afternoon, would be the “driving force” behind Forum Macau’s development.

Based in Macau, Forum Macau includes China and nine Portuguese-speaking countries: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor.

Five ministerial conferences were held in the territory in 2003, 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016, during which Action Plans for Economic and Trade Cooperation were approved.

Initially scheduled for 2019, the sixth ministerial conference was postponed to June 2020 due to the elections for the Macau Legislative Assembly, but the covid-19 pandemic meant that it didn’t take place.

Lusa

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