Macao to grasp development opportunities of ‘Belt and Road’ initiative

International Conference on Belt and Road and Macao’s Development opens today.

Macao should grasp opportunities arising from the “Belt and Road” initiative, as a route to advancing the city’s development, suggested officiating guests at the “International Conference on Belt and Road and Macao’s Development”.

The Conference, which opened today, invited former senior officials from countries including China, Portugal, Thailand and Brazil, together with leaders from business and from overseas Chinese communities – as well as experts from the mainland and Hong Kong – to share their respective visions of the “Belt and Road” initiative and outline in what way Macao could boost its participation in the initiative.

Addressing this morning’s opening ceremony, Honorary President of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, President of the China Public Diplomacy Association, and former minister of foreign affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Li Zhaoxing, said the “Belt and Road” initiative had presented Macao with significant development opportunities, at a time when the city was undergoing one of its greatest phases of development.

With the backing of the motherland, the effective use of policy by the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region, and the joint efforts of Macao people, the city would have even brighter development prospects than hitherto, said Mr Li.

China’s Assistant Minister of Commerce, Mr Wang Bingnan, said in his remarks that Macao had always been an important gateway for the country’s outreach efforts. Mr Wang stated the Ministry would give its strong support to Macao, reinforcing its unique advantages, particularly in three aspects of the city’s work.

The first was Macao’s effort to intensify its ties with Portuguese-speaking countries, especially via the city’s role as a commercial and trade cooperation service platform connecting China and those countries. The second was in the fostering of mainland-Macao cooperation via the Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). The third was the Ministry’s support for Macao in the latter’s economic diversification efforts, including fostering the development of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector, e-commerce industry and financial services.

Chairman of International Strategic Council of Mota-Engil for Latin America and Africa, and former deputy prime minister and former minister of foreign affairs of the Portuguese Republic, Mr Paulo Portas, said Macao was a vivid example of the positive long-term relationship between Portugal and China, adding that Macao’s ongoing achievement signified the success of the transfer of power that had occurred in Macao, and the trust placed by China in the Portuguese nation.

Using Macao as a platform, Chinese enterprises had made a number of investments in Portuguese-speaking countries and explored opportunities available in other markets, such as in Africa and Latin America, said Portas.

Speaking today also was Chairman of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council and former deputy prime minister and former minister of foreign affairs of Thailand, Mr Surakiart Sathirathai, said Macao used to be a key gateway for China and Southeast Asian merchants to connect with European countries.

In President Xi Jinping’s vision of the “Belt and Road” initiative, Macao would once again be one of the key centres of maritime trade and business, as well as tourism, linking China and East Asia to the rest of the world.

Vice Chairman and President of CITIC Group Corporation, Mr Wang Jiong, said that – as one of the key components in the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road –Macao had distinct advantages in terms of geographical position; culture; talent development; technology development; a favourable economy and financial policies; sound business environment; strong social cohesion; as well as a strong will to take part in the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Doing so would further help Macao in its economic diversification and enhance Macao’s economic competitiveness as well as the competitiveness of local enterprises, said Mr Wang.

The two-day “International Conference on Belt and Road and Macao’s Development” aims to seek social consensus and explore how better to coordinate and accelerate Macao’s participation in, and support for, the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road (collectively known as the “Belt and Road” initiative).

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