Sino-Portuguese relations make 'giant leap'

Updated: 2014-10-09 09:55


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LISBON - The relationship between Portugal and China has made a "giant leap" forward in the last few years, the president of the China Observatory in Portugal said on Wednesday.

"In the last few years a giant step has been taken, with cooperation in several areas strengthened, such as health, investment, communications and technology," said Rui D'Avila Lourido.

He made the remarks ahead of a two-day seminar entitled "Portugal-China: 35 years of cooperation and future potential", which began Wednesday in Lisbon and the city of Cascais, some 35 kilometers west of the capital.

Lourido noted that the most progress had been made in the areas of investment and Portuguese language teaching as well as "special attention paid to the tourism sector."

"Overall China is the country where Portuguese, as a foreign language, is expanding very fast," said the president of the China Observatory.

He noted that five years ago there were three to five universities that offered courses in Portuguese as a foreign language and that currently 22 universities offered Portuguese lessons and more courses were planned for the next few years.

Portugal and China established diplomatic relations in 1979 and the two countries signed a strategic partnership in 2005.

"Portugal has made good use of it. Our balance of trade with China is positive and supports our economy because we export substantially more than we import," he said.

The China Observatory is a multidisciplinary association that aims to add to understanding of China in Portugal. It has offices in Portugal, China (Macao and Beijing) and Brazil (Salvador da Baia).