The 6th meeting of the Macau-Portugal Joint Commission meeting, which was held in Lisbon on Wednesday, concluded with consensus on the further fostering of bilateral cooperation, including in economic and trade matters and Portuguese-language education, according to a statement by the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS) yesterday.
The meeting was co-chaired by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva.
Chui is leading a Macau government delegation on a nine-day official visit to Portugal ending on Sunday.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Chui and Santos Silva witnessed the signing of a bilateral agreement on the surrender of fugitive offenders and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the automatic reciprocal recognition of diplomas and academic degrees.
Chui said that the two accords signed on Wednesday and another MOU signed on Tuesday – were the outcome of joint efforts by Macau and Portugal over a long period of time.
According to the GCS statement, Chui and Santos Silva briefed the media after the closed-door meeting. The chief executive said the two sides would work more closely in order to deepen cooperation, on the basis it would be mutually beneficial.
The meeting also reviewed several areas of Macau-Portugal cooperation.
Chui told the media the areas included economics and trade, financial services, education and promotion of the Portuguese language, cultural exchanges, science and technology, mutual assistance on judicial affairs, healthcare, and sports.
Chui said the role of the Macau-based Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries was expanding in importance.
Chui noted that trade last year between China and Portuguese-speaking countries reached US$147.3 billion, 13 times more than in 2003, when the forum was set up.
Chui also said the Macau government would support Portuguese youth entrepreneurship projects involving Macau and other cities in the central government’s Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) conurbation project, which comprises nine cities in Guangdong as well as Macau and Hong Kong
Santos Silva told reporters the meeting focused on economic cooperation and Portuguese language teaching and education.
Strengthening bilateral economic and trade exchanges would contribute to Macau’s ongoing effort to diversify its economy, Santos Silva said.
The two sides also explored, during the meeting, opportunities arising from the Greater Bay Area initiative. Santos Silva said he believed the city-cluster initiative would not only bring new opportunities for economic development, but also create new prospects for closer ties between Portugal and China as a whole and his country and Macau. In future, Portugal would deepen its links with provinces in mainland China, he added.
Secretary for Administration and Justice Sónia Chan Hoi Fan, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng, Chui’s Chief-of-Office O Lam, GCS Director Victor Chan Chi Ping, Lisbon-based Macau Economic and Trade Office Director O Tin Lin and Chui’s advisor Chan Sao Iok attended the meeting.
The Macau-Portugal Joint Commission was established under the Framework Agreement of Cooperation between the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Portuguese Republic, with the aim of strengthening cooperation between the two sides. Its first meeting was held in Lisbon in April 2011.
According to the MOU signed by Tam and Portuguese State Secretary for Tourism Ana Mandes Godinho in Lisbon on Tuesday, Macau’s Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) will set up a branch in the Portuguese resort town of Estoril, according to Portuguese media reports.