The value of trade between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries has increased 12-fold since the creation of the Forum for Economic and trade cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macau), in 2003, said the secretary-general of the Permanent Office, Xu Yingzhen, in statements to the Tribuna de Macau newspaper.
“When Forum Macau was established, in 2003, the total value of trade between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries was about US$11 billion, while in 2018 this figure increased to US$147.3 billion, which is to say, an increase of more than 12 times,” she noted.
The secretary-general stressed that the figures relating to foreign direct investment by China in Portuguese-speaking countries are even more impressive, having increased from US$56 million in 2003 to US$5.699 billion in 2016, “representing approximately 100 times more.”
In addition, the areas of cooperation have increased, from the seven announced at the 1st Ministerial Conference to 20 at the 5th Conference, covering “most sectors of the national economy and social development in the participating countries.”
Macau’s role as a platform was highlighted by Xu, who noted that this situation had led to the territory gaining position and influence at a global level, “which has allowed it to develop various economic sectors, in particular conventions and exhibitions, tourism, trade and traditional medicine, thus contributing to the development of appropriate diversification of its economy,” said Xu Yingzhen.
The general secretary said Forum Macau would continue to support the construction of Macau as a platform that aims to integrate it in the context of national development, but noted that “the participating countries must also make joint efforts to promote innovation in the framework of Forum Macau in order to explore new models and ways of cooperation in various areas to foster the development of the Forum, with the aim of achieving a higher, wider and more diverse level.”
Xu also said that the current cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking world is not limited to the economic and trade segment, and also covers the human area.
“In the area of cooperation in human resources, since 2011, in which the Training Centre for Forum Macau was created, until the end of 2018, more than 1,000 trainees from Portuguese speaking countries were invited for exchange and training in Macau, on matters of government management, investment and trade, infrastructure construction, finance, law, medicine and health, and tourism management, among others,” she said.
In relation to the areas in which Forum Macau intends to invest in the future, Xu Yingzhen gave assurances that the forum, “will take full advantage of the characteristics of Macau as a platform, favouring the promotion of trade and economic cooperation and promoting active cooperation in the areas of culture, tourism, traditional medicine and education.”
In addition, she said, “keeping the content in close conjunction with the broad lines of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay and the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative the Forum will endeavour to continually deepen cooperation in various areas between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.”