China and Portugal herald new trade relationship with 17 trade agreements
Portugal has signed one of its most ambitious trade deals in recent times with China on the back of a two-day state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Cooperation on the “one belt — one road” (dubbed the new silk route) particularly in electricity mobility;
Table grape exports;
Chinese enterprise creation in Matosinhos;
Cooperation in the car component industry;
China-Portugal Technology 2030 – science, space, climate and water;
Creation of Chinese Studies Centre at Coimbra University;
Agreements between the municipal authorities of Setúbal and Tianjin;
Agreements between banks CGD and Bank of China including the issue of special credit cards for Portuguese companies in China;
Altice and Huawei developing 5G technology.
The seventeen trade deals involving the two states were signed in the Baroque setting of the Hall of Mirrors in Queluz National Palace in the presence of Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and the Chinese president.
The 18th century summer palace dating from 1742 which served as a luxury lunatic asylum for Portugal’s mad Queen Maria I, has apartments reserved for only the highest state diplomatic visits including President Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh
But the Chinese leader opted to pay €2 million to install his entire entourage exclusively at the Hotel Ritz Four Seasons in Lisbon, but only after alterations were made to the garaging arrangements to accommodate the presidents official limousines.
Other accords involved large Portuguese companies such as EDP (electricity energy provider), REN (electricity network) and BCP, a private bank.
Prime Minister António Costa said the signed agreements were “concrete steps towards deepening the relationship between the two countries” highlighting the sweeping and diverse nature of the accords.
On the one belt, one road initiative, Costa argued that the relationship between the two countries could also be developed at the “air links level”. After the suspension in October of air routes between Hangzhou, Peking and Lisbon operated by Capital Airlines, the two countries no longer enjoyed direct flights.
The Chinese carrier is now preparing to launch a new route (Lisbon to Xian – west of Peking) with flights to Peking on the same carrier starting from March 2019.
The state visit comes just ahead of the 40th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries and is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to the European country in eight years.
Two Portuguese fighter jets escorted the presidential plane as it entered Portuguese airspace. Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were greeted b senior Portuguese government officials at the airport. In an official speech delivered on arrival, Xi praised the traditional friendship between te two countries saying that the bi-lateral relationship between the two countries had withstood the test of time and international vicissitudes and become even stronger.
In 1999 Portugal handed back the island of Macau which had been a colony of the Portuguese empire after the Ming Dynasty leased the territory to Portugal which was later granted perpetual occupation rights in 1887.
In 2005 China and Portugal established a comprehensive strategic partnership, which enabled their mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
The Chinese community in Portugal, represented by the League of Chinese in Portugal under its current president, Y. Ping Chow, which numbers 21,000, including 3,000 that have arrived in Portugal since 2012 on the back of the Government’s residence-by-investment scheme (ARI or Golden Visa).
Most of the Chinese first arrived in Portugal in the 1980s and specialised in the Chinese restaurants and Chinese shops.
Portugal was the first stop of the Chinese president’s Europe and Latin American tour which has already taken in Spain, Argentina and Panama.