Portugal-China relations have set “a great example” for China-Europe cooperation, Chinese ambassador to Lisbon Zhao Bentang said.
“Portugal, as one of the countries with the fastest economic recovery in Europe, is also one of the first European countries to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China”, Zhao (pictured above) said during the Hong Kong Seminar in Europe 2022, which took place in Lisbon.
“The friendly relations linked by Macao and multi-dimensional pragmatic cooperation between Portugal and China have set a great example for China-Europe cooperation”, the diplomat added.
Zhao underlined that China and Europe account for one-third of the world’s total economic output and one-quarter of the world’s total population, making them “the world’s two major forces, two major markets, and two major civilizations”.
“A stable China-Europe relationship is the ‘twin engine’ of the world economy and the stabilizer of world peace. It is the consensus and shared responsibility of China and Europe to promote the stable and long-term development of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership”, the diplomat added.
Zhao stressed the risks posed by the ongoing pandemic and global division and confrontation, making China-EU relations experience many challenges and tests. “At this critical moment, we should promote dialogue and cooperation between China and Europe, improve understanding, dispel doubts, and enhance trust”, he said.
The diplomat said that cooperation has always been the main theme of the China-EU relations and that maintaining the “WTO-centered, rules-based multilateral trading system and promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation not only serves the interests of China and Europe, but also safeguards the common interests of all countries in the world”.
The seminar was organized by the Federation of Hong Kong Business Association Worldwide and co-hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, the Portugal-Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
The 09 June event in Lisbon, attracting close to 200 guests, served to promote the global multilateral trading system, focusing on the development opportunities brought by the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong to Europe and the world.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Zhao added, will further strengthen communications and cooperations between Hong Kong and Mainland China, bringing “greater opportunities, stronger driving force, and broader scope for a new round of economic growth for Hong Kong”.
It will also make Hong Kong “a more important international cooperation platform for the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative”, which enhances the city´s role “both as the world’s gateway to Mainland China, and as the bridge between Mainland China and the world, bringing new opportunities and benefits to all countries in the world”.
In the approach to the twenty-fifth anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Zhao said that during the period, “thanks to the support from Mainland China and benefiting from a global vision, Hong Kong has overcome many difficulties and challenges, achieved social stability, and continued to develop its economy, improve social benefits and expand international influence”.
“It has become one of the freest economies, one of the most active trading entities and one of the most desired foreign direct investment destinations in the world. The practice of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in Hong Kong is a success story recognized by all”, the diplomat said.
Speaking at the event, the Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Eddie Cheung, spoke about Hong Kong’s advantages amid one of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the tendency for countries to become more inward-looking and less trusting. “Now, it is the right time to reinforce globalisation, to build trust and multilateralism,” Cheung said.
“Hong Kong is a founding member of the World Trade Organization. We have supported multilateralism from day one. There are no tariffs in Hong Kong, and we are a platform for international exchanges of business, culture and people.” Cheung added, “More co-operation, more international trust will benefit not just one side but be a multilateral benefit.”