Portugal looking to expand richer business ties with China
Nations envisage mutually beneficial trade, exploring third-party market development
China and Portugal will further enrich business ties in areas, including energy, finance, tourism and infrastructure, as well as third-party market development, thanks to development opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative, according to officials and academics on both sides.
As an important partner of the initiative and a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Portugal can work with China in various fields within the framework of the BRI, said Lu Ming, vice-dean at the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
"The initiative will generate a healthy impact on the regional economy and cultural exchanges related to the routes and provide more space for bilateral cooperation," he said.
"To pursue high-quality development, both sides should further explore the potential for cooperation in fields such as modern agriculture, logistics and the maritime economy."
Eager to enrich bilateral business ties, Lu added China and Portugal have been accelerating the development of e-commerce platforms, streamlining the import process, consolidating their trade in goods and expanding the mutual trade in services over the past three years.
"It is difficult to separate the Portuguese enthusiasm for the Belt and Road Initiative from the overall state of bilateral ties," said Carlos Rodrigues, head of the Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences at the University of Aveiro, noting that the political, economic and cultural relations between Portugal and China are currently "at the highest point".
Bilateral trade grew by 8 percent year-on-year to $5 billion in the first 10 months of this year, and the two countries have seen deeper economic cooperation more recently, with steady growth in trade and investment, the Ministry of Commerce announced last week.
In the meantime, official data showed that China's imports from Portugal surged 12.5 percent year-on-year in the 10 month period to $1.91 billion.
Bilateral investment saw continuous growth, too. Portugal had invested $210 million in 255 projects in China by the end of October, while Chinese companies have made about $9 billion of investments in Portugal, covering areas including energy, water treatment, healthcare, insurance, telecommunications equipment and finance, said Gao Feng, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce.
Gao said businesses on both sides also achieved success in cooperation projects outside the two countries, such as energy projects in Brazil, Chile, Mozambique and Angola, which have become a bright spot in bilateral economic ties.
China mainly exports electromechanical and chemical products, textiles, raw materials, precious metals, computers and household appliances to Portugal. In addition to tobacco, food and seafood, Portugal's shipments to China include plastics, rubber, transport equipment, cellulose pulp, paper and minerals.
The strong growth momentum is also generated by the companies and business chambers from both countries, giving full play to their advantages in production capacity and technological collaboration, said Sun Xiao, director of the multilateral cooperation department of the Beijing-headquartered China Chamber of International Commerce.
They were effectively exploring the commercial potential in the services and new energy industries from the BRI, Sun added.
Professor emeritus at the University of Lisbon, Virginia Trigo, said that the physically small country has a strategic location in relation to the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
This is because Portugal has the first port that vessels encounters when traversing the Atlantic Ocean.
Portugal has well-equipped deep water ports close to airport and rail facilities, allowing products to be transported throughout Europe, Trigo said when describing Portugal's role in the BRI.
Fang Qiuchen, president of the China International Contractors Association, which helps Chinese construction companies expand their business overseas, suggested both countries further explore the third-party market - as well as multilateral cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries, or PSCs - and deepen cooperation in such areas as agriculture, infrastructure and auto manufacturing in countries in Africa, Latin America and other areas.
Most PSCs - such as Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique - are at a critical stage of their industrialization, endeavoring to improve infrastructure and upgrade industrial structures, Fang said.
"China, with a mature industrial and 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.
Source：China Daily Editor：Lucky
(Source_title：Portugal looking to expand richer business ties with China)