Bilin­gual co­op­er­a­tion seen as has­ten­ing more con­tacts

China Daily (USA) - - XI’S VISIT - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong [email protected]­nadai­

Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries is see­ing ex­cel­lent de­vel­op­ment mo­men­tum, and en­joys bright prospects, ex­perts said.

They noted that closer fi­nanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion will be a grow­ing as­pect of trade ties, while the build­ing of a trade zone specif­i­cally aimed at Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries within the Guang­dong Hong Kong-Ma­cao Greater Bay Area will bring co­op­er­a­tion to new heights.

Ma Youli, pres­i­dent of the Ma­cao Cham­ber of Com­merce, said di­rect in­vest­ment, merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions are the ma­jor paths China has taken to de­velop busi­ness with Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries. With a his­tory of more than a decade, the cham­ber plays a key role in pro­mot­ing com­mer­cial links be­tween the Ma­cao Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion, the Chi­nese mainland and other coun­tries and re­gions.

Of­fi­cial data show that China’s di­rect in­vest­ment in Por­tugue­ses­peak­ing coun­tries reached $399 mil­lion in 2016, a jump of 263.7 per­cent from 2015.

Ma es­ti­mates that the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, which Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping first pro­posed in 2013 to en­hance re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity, will de­liver more di­rect in­vest­ment from China into ma­jor in­fras­truc­ture projects in Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries.

“In­fras­truc­ture projects in those coun­tries will bring fi­nance leas­ing to the fore­front, mak­ing it the most promis­ing and lu­cra­tive field in their re­la­tions with China,” Ma said.

In fi­nance leas­ing, lessors — of­ten fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions — pur­chase and lease as­sets to lessees, which are of­ten en­ter­prises that can­not af­ford to buy full as­sets.

Ma said that in fields such as high-speed trains, ship­ping and marine en­gi­neer­ing, fi­nance leas­ing can greatly ben­e­fit Por­tugue­ses­peak­ing coun­tries.

Lin Guangzhi, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for So­cial and Cul­tural Re­search at Ma­cau Univer­sity of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, said an in­dus­trial zone built within the Guang­dong-Hong Kong-Ma­cao Greater Bay Area to cater to Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries will bring co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and those coun­tries to a new height.

An edi­tor of the Blue Book of Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Por­tuguese Speak­ing Coun­tries, Lin ex­plained that the zone will help en­ter­prises from Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries ac­cess mar­kets by es­tab­lish­ing lo­cal ties. The zone will also ac­cel­er­ate col­lab­o­ra­tion with China by turn­ing co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments into re­al­ity.

Since 2003, the Fo­rum for Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Por­tuguese Speak­ing Coun­tries — an ini­tia­tive of China’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment — has been held an­nu­ally in Ma­cao SAR.

Dur­ing the fo­rum, strate­gic plans for eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion are ap­proved by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China and the Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries. They cover a num­ber of ar­eas rang­ing from trade, fi­nance and re­sources to peo­ple’s liveli­hoods.

“Ma­cao is a small place, in­ca­pable of pro­vid­ing enough venues to re­al­ize such plans. But the zone, which pro­vides fi­nanc­ing, tal­ent and cul­tural as­sis­tance, could play a role in ac­cel­er­at­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween China and Por­tugue­ses­peak­ing coun­tries, achiev­ing a cost-ef­fec­tive win-win sit­u­a­tion,” Lin said.

He also sug­gested that the port of Nan­sha in Guangzhou might be an ideal place to build such zone be­cause of the city’s ad­van­tages in lo­gis­tics, trade and tech­nol­ogy.

Mer­chan­dise trade be­tween China and Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries world­wide hit $117.59 bil­lion last year, 19 times the fig­ure in 2002, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

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