China to bolster trade ties with Portugal

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - China is willing to work with Portugal to develop closer trade ties and expand cooperation in areas such as energy, finance, tourism, infrastructure and third-party markets, officials said.

The strong growth momentum in relations is boosted by businesses from both countries giving full play to their respective advantages in production capacity and technology collaboration, and maximizing potential in services and new energy industries under the Belt and Road Initiative, said Sun Xiao, director of the multilateral cooperation department of the China Chamber of International Commerce.Bilateral trade grew by 8 percent year-on-year to $5 billion in the first 10 months, as China and Portugal have seen deeper economic cooperation over the past few years, with steady growth in trade and investment, the Ministry of Commerce said last week.

China’s imports from Portugal surged 12.5 percent to $1.91 billion in the January-October period, according to official data.

Bilateral investment also enjoyed continuous growth. Portugal had invested $210 million in 255 projects in China as of the end of October, while Chinese companies had made about $9 billion of investments in Portugal, covering areas including energy, water treatment, healthcare, insurance, telecommunication equipment and finance, said ministry spokesman Gao Feng.

Gao said businesses from both countries have also achieved success in cooperation projects in third-party countries, including energy projects in Brazil, Chile, Mozambique and Angola, and these have become a bright spot in bilateral economic ties.

China exports mainly electromechanical and chemical products, textiles, raw materials, precious metals, computers and household appliances to Portugal. In addition to tobacco, food and aquatic products, Portugal’s shipments to China include plastics, rubber, transport equipment, cellulose pulp, paper and minerals.

As an important partner of the BRI and a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Portugal can cooperate with China in various fields within the framework of the initiative, said Lu Ming, vice-dean of the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Eager to enrich business ties, Lu said, China and Portugal have been accelerating the development of e-commerce platforms, facilitating import processes, consolidating trade in goods and expanding services trade over the past three years.

Fang Qiuchen, president of the China International Contractors Association, which helps Chinese construction companies expand their businesses overseas, suggested both countries should further explore third-party markets and multilateral cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries, or PSCs, and deepen cooperation in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure and auto manufacturing in Africa, Latin America and other regions.

Most PSCs such as Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique are at a critical stage of industrialization, hoping to improve infrastructure and upgrade their industrial structures, Fang said.

“China, with a mature manufacturing system and growing outbound direct investment, can partner with Portugal to create long-lasting and mutually beneficial cooperation with other PSCs via its complementary advantages,” he said.

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