Trade blossoms with Portuguese 'family'

Updated: 2013-11-06 11:16

By Li Tao in Macao (China Daily)

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Trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries is expected to reach $160 billion by 2016, a jump of 24.2 percent over the $128.8 billion in 2012, a top Chinese official said, with China promoting eight new ways to expedite trade and other exchanges in the coming years.

New measures aimed at strengthening ties will include 1.8 billion yuan ($295 million) concessional loans to Asian and African Portuguese-speaking countries, Vice-Premier Wang Yang announced at the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries on Tuesday.

China will help set up special economic and development zones, and encourage Chinese companies to establish overseas trade and economic cooperation zones in interested Portuguese-speaking countries, the vice-premier said.

China also will help create educational and training facilities in countries within the forum, and stands ready to bolster human resources, medicine and health developments in those countries, according to Wang.

Sino-Portugese trade has seen tremendous growth over the past decade.

Trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries within the forum - which include Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor and Mozambique - reached $128.8 billion last year, representing a compounded annual growth of 37 percent over the 5.6 billion yuan registered in 2002 before the forum was established.

In the first three quarters of 2013, trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries reached $98.5 billion, up 0.39 percent over the same period of last year, customs data showed.

China has become the largest trading partner and largest exporter to the Portuguese-speaking countries, while China's overall investments in these countries now total nearly $30 billion, the vice-premier said.

Wang said China will further improve trade promotion policies, expand market access, reduce trade barriers, optimize trade structures and strengthen customs cooperation regarding inspection and quarantine with participating members in the forum.

Chinese companies with competitive strengths will be encouraged to invest in these countries, which will be provided with financing conveniences from the China-Portugal Cooperation and Development Fund, Wang indicated.

Paulo Portas, vice-premier of Portugal, said Macao is now one of the most important platforms for cooperation commerce services in the world, where 250 million people speak Portuguese.