Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to gather with all the friends here in the beautiful Macao and attend the Third Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation Between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries. I would like to express, on behalf of the Chinese government, warm congratulations on the convocation of the meeting and pay high tribute to all the people who have long been committed to advancing the economic cooperation and trade between the two sides.
This Forum has served as an important platform and bond for mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries. It has given full play to Macao's unique advantage as a bridge between the two sides and boosted our exchanges and cooperation with a focus on economy and trade.
In 2003 when the Forum was founded, trade between the two sides was just a bit over US$10 billion. It surged to US$77 billion in 2008 and hit the target of US$50 billion one year ahead of schedule. In the first three quarters of this year, two-way trade reached US$68.2 billion, up 57% year-on-year, showing strong vitality. Today, coffee, cashews, wine and other famous products from the Portuguese-speaking countries are becoming more and more popular in China. And quality yet inexpensive consumer goods from China have enriched the markets of the Portuguese-speaking countries and have been well received by their people.成都翻译公司
Since the inception of the Forum, two-way investment between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries has rapidly expanded. By the end of 2009, Portuguese-speaking countries had set up over 700 companies in China with a total investment of more than US$500 million. China's investment in these countries is also burgeoning, and the total volume has exceeded US$1 billion. The ever-growing investment between the two sides has brought us the applicable technologies that we each need, supported our economic development and improved the lives of the people.成都翻译公司
China's assistance to some of the developing Portuguese-speaking countries has benefited the local people. Since the founding of the Forum, China has provided a total of 3.56 billion RMB yuan of assistance to Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Timor Leste, and cancelled 230 million yuan of debts associated with interest-free government loans. A number of signature projects that China built, such as the Poilao Dam in Cape Verde, the national stadium in Mozambique, the friendship hospital in Guinea-Bissau and the government office buildings in Timor Leste, have become symbols of friendship between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries and produced good economic and social returns.
Cooperation between the two sides has gradually extended from economy and trade to education, culture and other fields. Our cooperation in human resources development, in particular, has been greatly enhanced. Up to now, China has held over 200 workshops of various kinds and trained over 2,100 officials and technicians for the Portuguese-speaking countries, including the over 1,400 people trained in the recent three years, overfulfilling the target set at the second ministerial conference of the Forum.
What is worth noting is that thanks to the Forum, economic and trade ties between Macao and the Portuguese-speaking countries have also been strengthened. Macao has signed MOUs on financial cooperation with most of the Portuguese-speaking countries. Companies from Macao are now active in all the Portuguese-speaking countries, and commodities from Macao have entered the markets of the EU, South America and Africa through those countries. Some companies from the Portuguese-speaking countries have set up factories in Macao where they process coffee imported from Brazil and Timor Leste and then export the finished products to China's mainland under the preferential policies of CEPA, reaping handsome returns. The government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) fully supports the development of the Forum and supports the Forum in carrying out various kinds of economic and trade activities. It has taken active steps to train professionals in finance and tourism management and continuously increased scholarships for the Portuguese-speaking countries. These steps have been much welcomed by those countries.成都翻译公司
Past progress shows that the Forum is both a bridge for cooperation and a bridge of friendship. It has not only produced real economic benefits for both sides, but also brought China and the Portuguese-speaking countries closer, deepened the friendship between our peoples and enhanced the amicable ties between our countries.
The economies of China and the Portuguese-speaking countries are highly complementary and stronger business ties serve the fundamental interests of both sides. This is essential to the dynamic growth of economic cooperation and trade between the two sides. As our economies rapidly grow, our common interests have been expanding and our mutual needs increasing. Businesses of the two sides have a stronger desire in mutual learning and exchanges. Our business cooperation enjoys bright prospects. We should follow the principles of equality and mutual benefit, drawing on each other's strengths and seeking common development through diversified cooperation, and further broaden the areas, innovate the ways and enrich the content of our cooperation. We should work together to tackle the various challenges in the post-fmancial-crisis world and push forward our economic cooperation on a larger scale, in broader areas and at a higher level. The Action Plan for Economic and Commercial Cooperation to be adopted at this ministerial conference will set out many useful suggestions and specific measures in this regard. Here, I would like to stress the following important aspects:
First, increase bilateral trade. The products from China and the Portuguese-speaking countries have their respective advantages and there is much potential for the further growth of our bilateral trade. We should open our markets wider to each other, reduce trade barriers, step up policy coordination, jointly oppose trade protectionism and work hard to raise our trade volume to US$100 billion by 2013. It is important that we pay high attention to improving the trade structure and raise the share of trade in electro-mechanical goods, high-tech products and services in overall trade. China is willing to buy more from these countries and phase in zero-tariff treatment to the overwhelming majority of the commodities imported from the Portuguese-speaking countries in Asia and Africa. We will encourage the businesses to raise finance for trade, host more commodity fairs for the Portuguese-speaking countries and provide convenience for their products to enter the Chinese market.