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People's Daily Online

China promises new support for Portuguese-speaking countries

People's Daily Online

(CRI Online) 18:18, October 11, 2016

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has promised a total of 18 measures to support the development of Portuguese-speaking countries in Asia and Africa in the coming three years.

The latest pledges were made at the opening ceremony of the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries in Macao.

To do that, China will offer aid and preferential loans worth almost 4 billion yuan to the relevant countries.

The Chinese Premier said the new measures include financial aid, training and cultural exchanges.

"In the coming three years, the Chinese government will take the following 18 new and stronger measures: to provide aid gratis of no less than two billion yuan for the Portuguese-speaking countries in Asia and Africa, focusing on agriculture, trade and investment facilitation, malaria prevention and treatment, the studying of traditional medicine and other projects concerning people's livelihood."

The other half of the funds are designed to help promote industrial production capacity cooperation and local infrastructure renovation.

China will also write off 500 million yuan of interest-free loans from countries covered in these measures and will offer assistance in the fields of healthcare, education and disaster response.

During his speech, Li Keqiang also took time to outline a plan to build Macao into a gateway between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

"The Chinese government will fully support Macao to accelerate the construction of commercial and trade cooperation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, build a center for conventions and exhibitions for economic and trade cooperation, commercial and trade service centers for small-and-medium-sized enterprises and a food product distribution center."

China and the Portuguese-speaking countries accounted for 22 percent of the world population and 17 percent of the world economy.

Last year, trade between them hit about 100 billion US dollars.

Up till now, Portuguese-speaking countries have established about 1,000 enterprises in China. Meanwhile, Chinese investment in these countries has totaled 50 billion US dollars and Chinese enterprises have signed project contracts worth over 90 billion US dollars with them.

In his speech, Li Keqiang suggested the countries grasp the opportunity from the "Belt and Road" initiative to promote business and trade among them.

He also called on all participating parties to strengthen political trust and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.

So far, over 20 Chinese colleges and universities have opened a Portuguese language program and a total of 17 Confucius Institutes have been set up in Portuguese-speaking countries.

The forum first began in in 2003.

It's sponsored by China's Ministry of Commerce, hosted by the Macao government and with the joint participation of seven Portuguese-speaking countries including Brazil and Portugal.

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