Over the last decade, China and Portuguese-speaking countries(PSCs) have progressed in trade and economic collaboration. Through constant effort and practical experience, Macao has gradually gainedwide recognition as a trade and economic co-operation service platformbetween China and PSCs.

Secretary for Economy and Finance Tam Pak Yuen attends the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition for the 10th anniversary of the “Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao)”

Far-reaching connections between Macao and Portuguese-speaking countries
Macao has established extensive connections in terms of languageand culture and people with the PSCs covering four continents and atotal population of 260 million (in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, and Portugal). Macao shares a similar administrative and legal regime with other PSCs, along with professionals that specialise in Chinese and Portuguese languages, as well as entrepreneurs with the expertise in national development and market situations. It also possesses the advantages of being a hub when eastern and western culture meets, a far-reaching marketing network,sophisticated infrastructure facilities as well as a free and open business environment. All these effectively contribute to the development ofMacao as a trade and economic service platform between China and PSCs.

Progress in Trade and Economic Co-operation Between China and PSC’s
The Ministerial Conference of China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic and Trade Co-operation Forum (Macao)(the Ministerial Conference) have been held in Macao three times. In October 2003, the First Ministerial Conference of China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic and Trade Co-operation Forum (Macao) was held in Macao. The Action Plan for Economic and Trade Co-operation (2003-2006) was signed between the ministers from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde,China, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Portugal and identified the direction for co-operation in various areas. During the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Forum (Macao) held in November 2010, participating countries signed the 3rd Ministerial Conference of China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic and Trade Co-operation Forum Action Plan for Economic and Trade Co-operation (2010-2013) which laid out the contents and objectives for collaboration in a number of aspects including government, trade and investment, enterprise,agriculture, infrastructure facilities, natural resources, education and human resources, tourism, transportation and communications as well as finance. The establishment of the Training Centre of the Forum for Economicand Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries proposed during the meeting is now in operation, while the China-Portuguese-Speaking Countries Cooperation and Development Fund (CPCD Fund), initiated by the China Development Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Development Fund of Macao with an initial capital of US$125 million, was established at the end of June this year. It aims to promote financial collaboration between China and PSCs.

Over the past ten years since the inception of the ministerial conference, bilateral investment and trade between China and PSCs have achieved considerable growth, collaboration in various aspects have been accelerated and strengthened. In 2012, total import and export values between China and PSCs amounted to US$128.4 billion, a 9.6% increase year on year. Among which, China imports from PSCs amounted to US$87.445 billion, and exports to PSCs for a total of US$41.052 billion.

The Fourth Ministerial Conference of China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic and Trade Co-operation Forum (Macao) to be held in Macao in November
The National Twelfth Five-Year Plan explicitly sets out its support for Macao’s accelerating development as a trade and business co-operation service platform between China and PSCs. To this end, apart from organising local entrepreneur delegations to visit different PSCs and participate in the Entrepreneurs Meeting for Commercial and Economic Co-operation between China and Portuguese Speaking Countries, Macao has joined with leading Mainland government officials and headed large delegations from both sides to visit PSCs and organisejoint investment promotion events. Agreements were signed between IPIM and various PSCs to establish a mechanism to promote trade and economic as well as communication and information co-operation. In particular, exhibitions hosted or co-ordinated by IPIM such as Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF) and Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum and Exhibition (MIECF) have also invited the participation of officials and entrepreneurs from PSCs in conferences and exhibitions.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the China and Portuguese-speaking Countries Economic Co-operation Forum; the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum will be held from 5 to 6 November in Macao. The theme this year is “A New Start and New Opportunities”, senior government officials, entrepreneurs, financial experts from China and PSCs will be invited to attend various events including the opening ceremony, ministerial conference, Conference for China-Portuguese Speaking Countries Entrepreneurs and CPCD Fund Project-Matching Conference. Macao’s unique role and strength as a trade and economic networking and cooperation service platform will then be further highlighted and enhanced through the Forum.

On consolidating the outcome achieved in the previous forums, the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum will continue to hold the principles of a practical and highly effective operation and sign documents on 2013-2016 trade and economic collaboration to confirm China’s aspects and objectives of co-operation with seven PSCs including Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde,East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Portugal. It will focus on the full role of Macaoas a platform between Mainland China and PSCs and making an effort to enhance the level and standards of trade and economic co-operation between China and PSCs.