LISBON — Portugal and China relations are gaining momentum as both countries celebrate 10 years of strategic partnership, Portugal’s Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete said on June 3.
“It is with much pleasure that I join this colloquium which, incidentally, takes place during a historic period in which relations between Portugal and China are undergoing a special phase of intensity and momentum,” said Machete, at the Necessidades palace, in Lisbon.
The parliamentary group of friendship China-Portugal and the China Observatory held a colloquium on June 3 to celebrate 10 years of strategic partnership between the two countries.
Machete said, both countries had experienced great developments in areas like education, language, tourism, energy and science.
He highlighted investment by Chinese companies in Portugal’s privatization process, namely in the energy sector — by China Three Gorges and China State Grid — and in the insurance sector by Fosun.
“The further strengthening of economic relations between Portugal and China is underpinned by the notable role of Portuguese companies and their process of internalization, which enables trilateral cooperation possible,” he said.
According to official Chinese data, he pointed out, in that period the number of companies exporting to China rose from 750 to over 1,100, with export value reaching $1.6 billion.
He said exports to China had risen but that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) could benefit from a more equitable access to Chinese markets, perhaps helped by reducing Portugal’s deficit in bilateral commerce with China.
The number of Chinese tourists who visited Portugal in 2014 was over 113,000, and had grown over 50 percent compared to 2013, but it would be important to implement direct flights between China and Portugal, Machete said.
Machete also expressed his condolences to Chinese ambassador Huang Songfu for the victims of the Chinese cruise ship tragedy which took place on June 1.