Premier Li Keqiang chats with a storekeeper and local residents in Rua do Cunha, Macao, on Oct 11.[Photo by Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]
Premier Li Keqiang announced 18 measures on Oct 11 in Macao to boost ties with Portuguese-speaking countries in fields such as production capacity, people-to-people exchanges and maritime development.
The measures will be implemented in the next three years, and the Chinese government will support the Macao Special Administrative Region in establishing a financial service program, cultural exchange centers, bilingual training bases and juvenile innovation centers for exchanges with these countries, the Premier said.
China resumed sovereignty over Macao in December 1999 after it had been ruled since the mid-16th century by Portugal.
China is willing to carry out major projects with these countries by making use of the China-Portuguese-Speaking Countries Cooperation Development Fund and the Silk Road Fund, Premier Li said.
The announcement was made in Premier Li’s keynote speech on Oct 11 at the opening ceremony of the two-day Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation Between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries.
Delegates from seven Portuguese speaking countries－Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola and East Timor－attended the forum.
Before the ceremony, Premier Li launched a trade and economic cooperation program to promote further exchanges between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
China and the Portuguese-speaking countries contribute 17 percent of the world economy and 22 percent of global population, with varying advantages in technology, capital and market practices, he said.
The participating countries should consolidate political trust, promote trade liberalization and investment and strengthen cooperation in production capacity and people-to-people exchanges, the Premier told the forum.
China’s economic restructuring and upgrading will bring great investment opportunities and market potential, creating bright prospects for businesses from Portuguese-speaking countries, he said.
He said the trade volume between China and Portuguese-speaking countries reached $100 billion last year－about 10 times of that of 2003.
Cape Verde’s Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva said the Macao forum injected new momentum into strategic cooperation between all the participating countries. He added that his country will align with China’s Belt and Road Initiative and make use of the Macao forum to bring more commodities to Africa.
The prime ministers of Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique vowed to adopt favorable policies and improve the rule of law to attract investors.