Portugal and China are finalizing a memorandum of understanding under the “One Track, One Route” initiative, focused on infrastructure investment, the Portuguese Foreign Minister announced today in Macau.
Augusto Santos Silva did not advance whether this memorandum could be signed during the official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Portugal, announced for December 4 and 5, and more than three dozen states have signed relevant cooperation agreements with China within the framework of this project.
In Macau, where he is making an official visit, the minister stressed Portugal’s interest in contributing to the “One Strip, One Route” initiative, proposed in 2013 by the Chinese President, which aims to strengthen links and boost trade between various Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa through investment in infrastructure.
Santos Silva highlighted the importance of the port of Sines, which he considers strategic from the point of view of linking the African, American and Euro-Asian continents, at a time when the Portuguese Government is preparing to launch an international competition that guarantees the expansion of container terminal, currently managed by a Singaporean company.
“It is a deepwater port, the European port closer to the Panama Canal, with a logistical added value since it allows transhipment, an operation that saves a lot of time and costs, which has grown at a very interesting rate “he added.
Imports intermediated by commercial ports in the Portuguese mainland reached a record value in 2017, with a contribution of 56.1% in the port of Sines, with an average annual growth of 9.4% in the last five years.
The statements of the Foreign Minister were held at a press conference at the Consulate General of Portugal in Macau and Hong Kong after a meeting between businessmen and councillors of the Portuguese community.
Earlier this morning, the minister had already announced an agreement with the Macau authorities on five joint cooperation projects between that territory and Portugal in the areas of the economy, education, science and technology.
According to Augusto Santos Silva, the five projects “very concrete”, in the “scope of a collaboration agenda”, are related to cooperation in the area of consumer protection, “in the intensification of the presence of Portuguese companies in Macao”, in the creation of a joint fund to support projects in the field of science and technology (to be launched by the end of the year), in the field of mobility in higher education, in the reciprocal recognition of academic degrees.