Bolstering of ties for reciprocal economic development: Macao-Portugal Joint Committee

The Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Republic, Mr Augusto Santos Silva, shake hands prior to the sixth meeting of the Macao-Portugal Joint Committee, which is held in Lisbon, Portugal.

The latest Macao-Portugal Joint Committee meeting, held in Lisbon, Portugal, concluded with consensus on the topic of fostering bilateral cooperation, including in economic and trade matters and Portuguese-language education. This was so that the two parties could achieve further reciprocal economic development.

It was the sixth such Joint Committee meeting and the gathering was held in Portugal’s capital in the afternoon local time on Wednesday (15 May). It was co-chaired by the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), Mr Chui Sai On, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Republic, Mr Augusto Santos Silva.

Mr Chui is leading a delegation of the SAR Government on a nine-day visit to Portugal.

During Wednesday’s Joint Committee meeting, the two officials witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Surrender of Fugitive Offenders and a memorandum of understanding concerning progress on the topic of automatic recognition of diplomas and academic degrees.

The Chief Executive added the two agreements signed that day – and a memorandum of understanding signed on Tuesday (14 May) – showed the results of joint effort between Macao and Portugal over a long period of time.

Mr Chui and Mr Santos Silva met media representatives after the meeting. The Chief Executive said the two sides would work more closely in order to deepen cooperation, on the basis it would be mutually beneficial.

The meeting also reviewed several areas of Macao-Portugal cooperation. Mr Chui told the media the topics concerned: economics and trade; financial services; education and promotion of the Portuguese language; cultural exchange; science and technology, mutual assistance on judicial affairs; healthcare; and sports.

When speaking to reporters, Mr Chui said the role of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries – a body based in Macao, and that is also known as Forum Macao – was expanding in importance.

He shared more details on that topic. Mr Chui noted that the volume of trade in 2018 between China and Portuguese-speaking countries reached 147.3 billion U.S. dollars. The amount was 13 times more than that recorded in 2003, when Forum Macao was set up. Trade between Macao and Portugal in 2018 had been triple the U.S. dollar value of that recorded in 2003.

The Macao SAR Government would respectively: step up effort to promote Forum Macao; have greater engagement with the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Cooperation and Development Fund; and foster exchange and cooperation between Macao enterprises and businesses based either in China or in Portuguese-speaking countries.

Mr Chui shared some information on the SAR Government’s effort in promoting youth entrepreneurship. He also stated the SAR Government would support Portuguese youth entrepreneurship projects involving Macao and other cities covered by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) initiative.

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Santos Silva, told reporters the Joint Committee meeting focused on two topics: economic cooperation; plus the Portuguese language teaching and education.

Strengthening bilateral economic and trade exchanges would contribute to Macao’s effort relating to adequately diversifying its economy, said Mr Santos Silva. In addition, he noted Forum Macao provided a sound mechanism for boosting economic ties between China, Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries.

The two sides also explored during the Wednesday meeting opportunities arising from the Greater Bay Area. Mr Santos Silva said he believed the city-cluster initiative would not only bring new opportunities for economic development, but also create fresh subject matter for Portugal-China ties, and Portugal-Macao ties. In future, Portugal would deepen links with provinces in mainland China, he added.

Macao officials attending the Macao-Portugal Joint Committee meeting in Lisbon included: the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Ms Chan Hoi Fan, and the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Mr Tam Chon Weng; the Chief-of-Office of the Chief Executive's Office, Ms O Lam; the Director of the Government Information Bureau, Mr Chan Chi Ping; the Director of the Macao Economic and Trade Office in Lisbon, Ms O Tin Lin; and Advisor to the Chief Executive’s Office, Ms Chan Sao Iok.

Officials representing the Portuguese Republic in the meeting included: the Director-General for Foreign Policy of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, Mr Pedro Costa Pereira; the President of the Camões -– Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, Mr Luís Faro Ramos; and Deputy Director-General for Foreign Policy of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, Ms Ana Paula Moreira.

The Macao-Portugal Joint Committee was established under the Framework Agreement of Cooperation between the Macao SAR of the People’s Republic of China and the Portuguese Republic, with the aim of strengthening cooperation between the two sides in a number of areas. The first Joint Committee meeting was held in Lisbon in April 2011.

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