China, Portugal pledge to upgrade economic cooperation

Updated: 2016-10-10 10:40


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China, Portugal pledge to upgrade economic cooperation

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) shakes hands with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Beijing, capital of China, Oct 9, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - China and Portugal on Sunday vowed to upgrade economic cooperation by enhancing investment and trade and exploring the third-party market.

The pledge came as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held talks with his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Hailing the two countries' economies as highly complementary, Li called on both sides to realize the potential of cooperation and link China's Belt and Road Initiative with Portuguese development.

Li encouraged the two countries to consolidate and explore the third-party market and multilateral cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries, and enhance cooperation in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure and auto manufacturing.

"We can combine China's market potential and advantages in equipment manufacturing with Portugal's advanced technology to create long-lasting and mutually beneficial cooperation," Li said at a press conference with Costa.

Both countries can create new growth points in the sectors of energy connectivity, renewable energy and clean energy, Li told Costa, calling on both side to be committed to trade and investment liberalization.

Li said he believed that Portugal will provide a better investment environment and better legal safeguards for investors, including Chinese entrepreneurs.

Costa, who is here for a five-day official visit that started Saturday, said Portugal was willing to maintain high-level visits with China, jointly promote third-party market cooperation and deepen investment and trade cooperation in areas such as energy, finance, port and railway construction, agriculture and tourism.

Portugal encourages Chinese enterprises to give full play to their advantages in production capacity and technology, and explore cooperation of the new energy industry, under the Belt and Road Initiative, Costa said.

The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on enhancing third-party market cooperation.

Both countries also called for more diplomatic and cultural exchange, with the signing of documents to open direct flights from Beijing to Lisbon, and the establishment of each other's cultural centers in both countries.

On the political front, Li said the bilateral relations have undergone stable and healthy development in the past 37 years since the two forged diplomatic ties.

The two countries realized the smooth handover of Macao from Portugal to China in 1999 via negotiation, which set a good example for countries to deal with historical issues and opened a new chapter for China-Portugal ties, Li said.

Over the past 17 years since Macao's return, the principles of "one country, two systems," Macao people administering Macao, and a high degree of autonomy have been implemented, he said, adding that with the efforts of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government and the entire community, Macao has scored remarkable achievements.

Costa agreed with Li on the smooth handover of Macao, saying he was glad to see that Macao had become a good platform for Portuguese-speaking countries to develop ties with China.

Both Li and Costa are going to visit Macao to attend the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries next Tuesday.

Li spoke highly of the forum's role in boosting the common development of the Chinese mainland, Macao SAR and Portuguese-speaking countries, since it was established 13 years ago. He called on both China and Portugal to further promote inter-governmental cooperation.

Costa said Portugal is ready to step up cooperation with China via the platforms of Macao and the forum.

On EU integration, Li said China has always viewed the EU from a strategic height and long-term perspective, supported the process of EU integration, and believed that a united, prosperous and stable EU was in line with the interests of all sides and conducive to the world's economic recovery.

China hopes that Portugal, as an important EU member, will continue to play a constructive role in boosting China-EU relations, the premier said.

The two countries also signed bilateral documents on finance, energy and telecommunication after the talks.

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