Macau: Contacts and cooperation between China and the Portuguese language countries promoted or mediated by the Macau Forum have played a vital role in helping trade and investment in the Sino-Lusophone space overcome the recent global economic crisis.
The 2009 balance recently released by the Macau Forum stresses that "mutual investment between China and the Portuguese language countries not only did not diminish but grew" in a year marked by the economic crisis, in which direct foreign investment shrunk by nearly 30 percent worldwide.
"The establishment of the Macau Forum stimulates and encourages businesses from the MSAR to bet strongly on the Portuguese language countries," the document indicates. The 19 percent drop in trade in the Sino-Lusophone space was less than the global average, "demonstrating that economic and commercial cooperation continues to grow notably, despite effects of the crisis," it adds.
Figures released last week by the Chinese Customs Administration indicate that the trade recovery is under way, as multilateral exchanges doubled in the first two months of the year compared to the same period last year.
Even with the downturn last year, the target set at the Second Macau Forum Ministerial Conference for the volume of bilateral trade until the end of 2009 (US$40-50 billion) was surpassed, standing at US$62.468 billion.
Another task of the Permanent Secretariat in 2009 was to organize and take part in initiatives to promote trade and investment, such as the Meeting of Entrepreneurs for Economic and Commercial Cooperation between China and the Portuguese Language Countries in Rio de Janeiro, the Seminar on Economic and Commercial Cooperation and Services between Guangdong, Macau and Brazil in Sao Paulo, and the Business Meeting on Enterprise in the Portuguese Language Countries in Fortaleza.
"Besides that, various heads of departments for external economic and commercial affairs from China visited the Forum's Permanent Secretariat, namely those from Hunan and Zhejiang provinces and the city of Xiamen," the document states.
A business delegation from Mozambique, Angola and Portugal was jointly organized by the Secretary for Finance and Economy of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) government and China's Vice-Minister of Trade, Jiang Zengwei.
There were a total of 110 reciprocal high level visits, 16 of which at head of state level, "making 2009 the year with the most high level visits since the Second Macau Forum Ministerial Conference in 2006".
"The mutual visits show the importance of our relations and the high degree of understanding existing between our governments, which increasingly boosts Macau's role as a connection platform," the text indicates.
The Secretariat provided support for participation and organization of the Forum for the Study and Interchange of Bio-fuels and Renewable Energies and for government initiatives such as the 14th Macau International Fair and the Conference of Central Bank Governors from the Portuguese Language Countries.
Regarding cooperation, some 276 technical personnel from Portuguese speaking countries received training in Macau and China up to November of last year.
The cooperation also encompasses projects involving the Angolan Institute of Foreign Relations, National Stadiums in Cape Verde and Mozambique, the Army General Hospital and Administrative Complex in Guinea-Bissau, the Pilot Centre for Agricultural Techniques in Mozambique and the Military Residence in East Timor, among others.
Internally, the Permanent Secretariat marked the year 2009 with a new Secretary-General, Chang Hexi, taking office.