by Zhang Yadong
LISBON, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- The partnership between China and Portuguese-speaking countries featuring complementary advantages and mutual benefits will push the bilateral economic and trade relations to a new high, Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas has told Xinhua in a recent interview.
It serves the interests of both sides, Portas said in the exclusive interview before his departure for Macao, China to attend the fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.
In recent years, there has been a rapid development in the economic and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. According to statistics released by China's General Administration of Customs, the trade volume between the two sides has reached 86 billion U.S. dollars during the first eight months of this year, while the amount stood at a mere 10 billion dollars when the forum was founded in 2003.
"The Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries has not only brought tangible economic benefits to the two sides but also enhanced the understanding and deepened the friendship between the two sides," Portas said.
On economic and trade ties between Portugal and China, the deputy prime minister said the Portuguese government appreciates very much that the Chinese companies have come to invest in Portugal when it was in economic difficulty, he said.
He added that as the Portuguese economy is gradually getting out of the recession, the government welcomes more Chinese companies to invest in the country.
In order to absorb foreign investment and stimulate the faltering economy, the Portuguese government has started to sell the shares of some leading state enterprises such as electricity company EDP, state power grid REN and flagship airline TAP since 2011. Some Chinese companies including China State Grid and China Three Gorges Corporation seized the opportunity and have achieved great benefits.
Great potentials for bilateral trade remain in a number of fields, such as tourism, Portas said.
He said that he had high expectations for the upcoming conference and he hoped he could work with political leaders and entrepreneurs of other participating countries to enhance the economic and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
The ministerial conference, with the theme of "New Starting Point, New Opportunity," will be held in Macao, China on Nov. 5-6.