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|Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres told a seminar at the World Trade Center Macau on 18 April that Portugual and China should use Macau as a springboard for developing inter-regional economic co-operation between Europe and Asia.|
megalomania but with realism we can give Macau a vocation, a role and a
significant development perspective, taking into account that inter-regional
co-operation between Europe and Asia is unstoppable." Mr Guterres said.
Mr Guterres stressed that inter-regional co-operation between Europe and Asia was "indispensable" to offset an "excessive hegemony that the United States has in the world's economic relations."
"This type of economic co-operation between Europe and Asia will certainly have China as its main focal point and China could use Macau as one of the vectors of its development and its (commercial) exchanges," Mr Guterres said, emphasizing that Portugal was one of the perspective's advocates within the ambit of the European Union.
According to the Prime Minister's perspective, Macau "can be one of the important contact points for European and Asian businesses and Portuguese and Chinese business".
Mr Guterres and his entourage of about 150 government officials, among them six cabinet ministers, Portuguese businessmen and journalists paid a three-day visit to Macau on 17-19 April, en route to an official visit to China for top-level talks in Beijing.
Macau reverts to Chinese administration at midnight on 19 December 1999. Mr Guerres said that it was "very important" that Macau's transition process towards its reversion to China be carried out in a "stable and responsible manner", adding Portugal should continue its close links with Macau also after the territory's transfer to China next year.
Mr Guterres, who has been Prime Minister of Portugal since October 1995, also urged China to invest in Macau, namely by moving some of its major financial, economic, regulatory and training institutions - "which are indispensable to the process of opening up to the world"- to Macau.
Mr Guterres also said it was "important"to discuss Macau's role as a bridge between the 15-nation European Union and China with the Chinese leadership in Beijing.
The Prime Minister warned against attitudes of self-abasement, urging his
audience to "recognise the enormous potential that a tradition of several
centuries of cultural exchanges and the capacity
of understanding between peoples represents", adding that "this potential
is nowadays indispensable to the business world, so that understanding
can be possible".
Mr Guerres also said that Macau's transition towards Chinese rule in 1999 would not only "close a cycle of more than 400 years of history,"but also lead to the beginning of "another cycle that will, perhaps, be even more important within the framework of relations between Portugal and the Orient".
Minister Pina Moura expressed the Portuguese goverment's willingness to contribute to the creation of conditions facilitating business relations between Portugal and China via Macau.
"It will be up to the government of Portugal and Macau and, perhaps, also the government of the People's Republic of China to create institutional conditions that will ensure that government bodies stimulates a good business enviroment,
"Portuguese businessmen have shown little interest in investments in China, they are satfisfied with ( investiments in) the European Union, "Mr Ng said, who underlined the fact that Portugal was at the end of the 15 European Union countries in terms of exports to China.
"A lot of work has to be done, and they ( Portuguese businessmen) must try to learn more about China and use Macau to enter the Chinese market." Mr Ng told the Portuguese businessmen attending the seminar.
However, Mr Ho cautioned that Portuguese businessmen interested in doing business with China had to be patient, because "in China you do not invest to make a quick profit but with a long-term perspective"
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